Nothing To Do With The Tudors

Dear readers, this is yet another post about history. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with the Tudors, as evidenced by the title of this post, “Nothing To Do With The Tudors”. No, this has to do with Rasputin, the Russian monk who was immortalized by the disco song “Rasputin” –

Grigori Rasputin, self portrait

Grigori Rasputin, self portrait

Ra Ra Rasputin lover of the Russian Queen

There was a cat that really was gone

Ra Ra Rasputin Russia’s greatest love machine

It was a shame how he carried on

This song, while extremely pleasing to the ears, makes a complete mess of his story (He was not actually the Czarina’s lover. More like her puppeteer). So, in order to rectify Boney M.’s gross mistakes, I present to you… the true story of Rasputin’s death!

Grigori Rasputin was born in 1869. This was also the year Vladimir Lenin’s wife was born. Coincidence? We think not.

Okay, yeah, that was probably a coincidence.

Anyway, he was born, and that was the last really important thing that happened regarding his life till 1905, when he was called to the palace to treat Czarevitch Alexei Romanov, who had haemophilia. Now I interrupt this entry in order to give a brief lecture on haemophilia among the royal families of Europe.

Its origins were with Queen Victoria of England, also known as the former Empress of India and the propagator of the popular phrase “I didn’t do it!”

Sorry, scratch that last part. It was apparently “We are not amused.” Though, quite frankly, “I didn’t do it!” would have worked pretty well. Victoria didn’t actually do very much after her beloved husband Albert died.

Anyway, because Vicky was the direct ancestor of the rulers of England, Germany and Russia, her haemophilia was passed down to them – and they, of course, passed it down to their offspring.

Back to Rasputin! Much to the surprise of everyone, he actually managed to heal the Czarevitch Alexei. The Czarina immediately appointed him the unofficial advisor of Russia, giving him the country’s reins of power whenever the Czar was absent – which was most of the time.

Naturally, the Russian aristocracy was far from delighted at this turn of events. The same went for the Russian peasantry; in 1914, a former prostitute named Хиония Кузьминична Гусева stabbed him in the stomach while he was visiting his wife and children in his hometown. He survived, but was plagued by hyperacidity afterwards. He was also immune to poison, but that was not Хиония Кузьминична Гусева’s fault. It is believed that he followed the example of the extremely paranoid Persian monarch Mithridates, who administered tiny doses of poison to himself in order to build up immunity. Eventually Mithridates decided to commit suicide, so he swallowed poison.

It didn’t work. He stabbed himself instead.

Anyway, Rasputin was immune to poison and suffered from hyperacidity. It turns out this was extremely fortunate, because in 1916 a noble named Obi Wan Kenobi decided to kill him.

Actually his name was Prince Yusupov, but Obi Wan Kenobi sounds much cooler, so I’m going to have to go with that.

Now, Obi Wan Kenobi’s actions were widely supported among the Russian aristocracy. Rasputin was powerful, and generally the rule of thumb for aristocrats is you must nurse a burning hatred for anyone more powerful than you.

That, and you have to have really ugly antique silverware.

So Obi Wan Kenobi and his followers came up with a brilliant plan; they’d invite Rasputin to share some wine and cakes, then poison the wine and cakes so he, for once and for all, would die.

What they didn’t take into account is that Rasputin was, as mentioned earlier, hyperacidic – and hyperacidic people, as a rule, avoid sugary foods, since sugar tends to exacerbate their problems.

And wine and cake are – big surprise – sugary foods.

So Rasputin probably didn’t partake of the poisoned sweets, and even if he had he’d have been okay because he was immune to the poison in them anyway.

Of course Obi Wan Kenobi and followers didn’t much like this turn of events, so they decided to shoot him instead.

Unfortunately, Rasputin turned out to be immune to bullets as well* so, thoroughly fed up, Obi Wan Kenobi tied him up and chucked him in the nearest large body of water.

That worked, and Raspy drowned, and his body was recovered some time later, covered in bloody wounds. This was not, however, the last the public would see of him. After the February Revolution, he was dug up from his grave on the grounds of the Imperial Palace and cremated. When his body was set alight, to the horror of the onlookers, it appeared to sit up and move around a bit. This was not, however, because Rasputin had come to wreak ghostly havoc on Russia in revenge for his death. Though that would admittedly be awesome. Actually, what had happened was that the inexperienced cremators had forgotten to cut Rasputin’s tendons before he was burnt, and as a result they shrank and forced the body to bend into odd postures.

Huh. Maybe I should get someone to do that for me.

Anyway, that really was the last time Raspy appeared in person, but his memory lives on in popular literature, documentaries, and of course that awesome song.

Ra Ra Rasputin lover of the Russian Queen

There was a cat that really was gone

Ra Ra Rasputin Russia’s greatest love machine

It was a shame to see how he carried on

Incidentally, yet another one of Boney M.’s songs was about a notorious historical figure – Arizona Barkley, founder of the Barkley Gang and inspiration for a Lucky Luke comic character.

Nah, nowhere near as cool the Mad Monk of Russia.

*There has been some controversy regarding Rasputin’s cause of death – the official autopsy marked it down as drowning, for when his body was discovered his lungs were filled with water. However, some authorities maintain that the four bullet wounds he’d received earlier were the true causes of his death, and that any respectable dead body that’d been chucked in a lake would have water in its lungs, and now that that’s settled let’s have some wine and cakes, shall we? Unpoisoned, please.

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About Aditi Ramaswamy

I am Aditi Ramaswamy... the History Hacker. I like history, and hacking. Occasionally, I attempt to hack history itself. Sometimes it even works. Oh, and in my free time I also double as the state of Virginia (we really need a state fruit).

2 thoughts on “Nothing To Do With The Tudors

  1. I really enjoy reading these little history scribbles! They’re like wikipedia, but prettier and not as annoyingly worded :o)

    • Aww, thanks. Hey, that’d be a great slogan! “Like Wikipedia, only PRETTY.” D’you think I should start charging a dollar a view? 😉

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