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|Biography - Rasputin The Mad Monk|
Genres: Television, Documentary
He was an uneducated peasant who gained a reputation as a faith healer. His strange behavior and incredible influence over the imperial family made him notorious his death made him a legend. Gregory Rasputin dominated the ... more »
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Few lives are as intriguing as that of Russia's mad monk
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 02/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is hard to find a more fascinating character in history than Rasputin: self-proclaimed holy man, madman, healer, womanizer, hater of baths, personal friend to the royal family of Russia - these are just some of the facts. Rasputin has also been accused at one time or another of being a spy for the Germans, evil incarnate, a hypnotist, a seducer of the Czarina herself, and a whole list of other crazy things. The man is the epitome of contradiction, and a serious look at his life finds a mixture of the good and the bad - and when Rasputin was bad, he was very bad.
Gregory Rasputin was born a peasant in Siberia, but his unusual nature began to show even in childhood. At a young age, he reportedly had the ability to heal animals, and he soon acquired a most-deserved reputation as a seducer of women. This was a reputation he would never lose or attempt to change. Following a trip to a holy place (as a means of stopping his villagers from throwing him out of town), he took on an air of religion, and he began spreading his unique religious philosophy (one that apparently called for unlimited sinning) throughout the countryside. He eventually found his way to St. Petersburg, the capital of imperial Russia, and somehow gained an audience with Czar Nicholas and Czarina Alexandra themselves. Here were sown the seeds that would help - albeit indirectly - bring down the monarchy in 1917.
Rasputin's illicit activities and excessive womanizing were no secret, yet he enjoyed free access to the royal family; as the Russian population's misery grew with the onset of World War I, Rasputin became the most hated man in all of Russia - yet there he was in the role of a confidante of the Romanovs. The people could not understand this, and the fact that Nicholas treated this mad peasant as such as an equal diminished the royal family greatly in the eyes of those who would eventually destroy the monarchy. As this video reveals, we now know why Rasputin meant so much to the czar and his family. The czar's only son, the sole heir to the throne, suffered from hemophilia; somehow, Rasputin was able to heal the boy in the midst of his serious attacks, and for this reason the family, particularly the czarina, bound themselves to him. Since Nicholas could not reveal his son's medical condition to the people (that would weaken the monarchy), he was quite unable to explain to the Russian people why the madman enjoyed such incredible access to the palace.
This video floats the idea that Rasputin might have been able to keep Russia out of World War I - he had prophesied that ruin would come with war, but at the crucial time following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Rasputin was in a hospital recovering from a brutal attack by an ex-lover. By the time he returned to St. Petersburg, the Russian army was being torn apart at the front and revolution at home took on an air of inevitability. At this point, Rasputin began drinking heavily and breaking his own records for lewd public behavior. Despite all this, his ties to the Romonovs only increased when Nicholas went to the front to take charge of his floundering army. Now things had gone too far, and Rasputin had to die. His assassination by a nobleman only increased the mental hold he held on the Russian people. He was, as it turned out, incredibly hard to kill. Several lethal doses of poison had no effect, so increasingly drastic actions had to be taken to finally break the mad monk's curse over mother Russia. Even in death, Rasputin brooded over the Russian nation, however. Just a few short months later, the Russian Revolution threw the country into chaos and led to the deaths of the entire royal family. Clearly, Rasputin's relationship with the Romanovs played a part - albeit an unintentional one -in the royal family's downfall.
Rasputin is in many ways an inscrutable figure. As the pictures of him show, he was not an attractive man; the fact that he rarely bathed could not have helped him with the ladies; one can only ponder what sort of unnatural characteristic made him irresistible to so many women. Then you have to deal with the fact that Rasputin seemingly did have the ability to heal by some unknown means. I think his prophetic talents are overrated, but clearly he was a perceptive man with some valid insight into the course of events taking place in his own time. Was he mad? What he truly evil? I don't think these questions can be answered satisfactorily, nor does this video attempt to do so."
R. J. Martinez | USA | 05/19/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This bio was interesting to some degree. I thought the impact one "peasant" could have on the course of a nation was sobering. This man demonstrates that some people will follow anyone. After watching this doc. I don't feel better educated in any important area."