Grigori Rasputin – mystic man
Grigori Rasputin was a mystic and holy man, a peasant from the village Pokrovskoe, Tobolsk Province. He gained worldwide fame thanks to the fact that he was a family friend of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II. In the 1900s he was known as “the Tsar’s friend”, “an old man”, the seer and healer among certain circles of Petersburg society.
Rasputin was born on January 10, 1869. In 1902 he left Pokrovskoye. By then, his common-law wife Praskovya gave birth to three children.
He wandered over all Russia, made two pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and roamed both in the Balkans and in Mesopotamia.
On December 29, 1903, Rasputin appeared at the religious Academy of St. Petersburg. Grigori never held a formal position in the Church, but people recognized him as a starets (elder, wise counselor). His spiritual gifts apparently included healing.
The only son of the royal couple, Alexei, suffered from haemophilia. Physicians were unable to help Alexei, and the Tsarina became frustrated. During a particularly bad bleeding episode the Tsar, looking for something of a miracle, called upon his wife’s newfound friend and supposed ‘faith healer’, Rasputin. Somehow Rasputin managed to stop Alexei’s bleeding; as a result, he became a hero to the Romanov family. For the next ten years, Rasputin served the tsarevich unfailingly.
He was also known to make money in the gypsy art of Fortune Telling and the Tarot. During the early 20th Century, Astrology and the Occult were increasingly popular with the upper classes.
Felix Yusupov organized a conspiracy resulting in Rasputin’s murder in Petrograd on December 17, 1916. Rasputin was poisoned, severely beaten, and shot three times.
Rasputin was buried at Tsarskoye Selo.
After the revolution Rasputin’s daughter Matryona emigrated to France, and later moved to the United States. Other members of his family were repressed by the Soviet regime. In 1922, his widow, Praskovya Fyodorovna, son Dmitry, and daughter Varvara were disenfranchised as “malicious elements”. In 1930, they were arrested and their trace was lost in the Tyumen North.
Rasputin and his historical significance has had a great impact on both the Russian and the western cultures. Germans and Americans see his figure as a kind of “Russian Bear” or “Russian muzhik (guy)”.
Rasputin is the hero of many films, theater productions and songs.
Documentaries about Rasputin
– Historical chronicles. 1915. Grigory Rasputin
– Last of the Czars. The Shadow of Rasputin, 1996, Discovery Communications, 51 min. (Released on DVD in 2007).
– Who Killed Rasputin?, 2004, BBC, 50 min. (Released on DVD in 2006)
Rasputin in the theater and cinema
The first films about Rasputin were made in 1917.
Dark forces – Grigori Rasputin and his associates (2 series), director Veselovskii; in the role of Rasputin – P. Gladkov.
People sin and blood (Tsarskoe Selo sinners)
Loves of Grishka Rasputin
The royal guardsmen
However, already in 1917 the image of Rasputin continued to appear on the silver screen. According to the IMDB, the first one who embodied the image of an old man on the screen was the actor Edward Connelly (in the movie The Fall of the Romanovs). In the same year there was a film Rasputin, The Black Monk, where Montagu Love played Rasputin.
In 1926 another movie about Rasputin – Brandstifter Europas, Die was released (Max Newfield in the role of Rasputin).
Three films were released in 1928 – Red Dance (Dimitrios Alexis played Rasputin), Rasputin – holy sinner (Nikolay Malikov) and Rasputin (Gregory Khmara).
A. Tolstoy wrote the play Conspiracy of the Empress, which shows the murder of Rasputin in details.
In 1932, German film Rasputin – A Demon With A Woman (known German actor Conrad Veidt played the role of Rasputin) was released. The film Rasputin And The Empress was nominated for Oscar, Lionel Barrymore played the lead role.
In 1967 the cult horror movie Rasputin – Mad Monk with the famous actor Christopher Lee as Rasputin was released.
In the 60s such films as Rasputin’s Night (1960, in the role of Rasputin – Edmund Pardo), Rasputin (1966, Herbert Stass in the title role), I killed Rasputin (1967), where the role of Rasputin was played by Gert Fröbe, known for his role as Goldfinger, the villain of the eponymous James Bond film, were produced.
In the 70s Rasputin appeared in the following films: Why Russian revolutionized (1970, Rasputin – Wes Carter), Nicholas And Alexandra (1971, Rasputin – Tom Baker), the television series The Fall Of Eagles (1974, Rasputin – Michael Aldridge).
In 1981, Elem Klimov produced the most famous Russian film about Rasputin – Agony, where Alexei Petrenko played the main role.
In 1984, Rasputin – Orgien am Zarenhof with Alexander Conte as Rasputin was released.
Rasputin: The Devil in the flesh (2002, Rasputin – Oleg Fedorov), Killing Rasputin (2003, Rasputin – Ruben Thomas), Hellboy: The Hero From Hell where Karel Roden played Rasputin.
In 2007, Ivan Okhlobystin played the role of Rasputin in the film Conspiracy, directed by Stanislav Libin.
In 2011, the Franco-Russian film Rasputin was filmed, the role of Gregori was played by Gerard Depardieu.
In 2014, the studio Mars Media shot 8-part TV movie Gregori R. (director Andrei Malukov), in which the role of Rasputin was played by Vladimir Mashkov.