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Rasputin: Not so dead after all

Grigori Rasputin, the "mad monk" who exercised enormous influence in the Court of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, was stabbed on July 12, 1914, and "is now lying at death's door."

The Petersburg Kurier said Rasputin was attacked by a woman wielding a military-style dagger. She plunged it into in his abdomen and then tried to kill herself by slashing her wrist with a piece of glass.

The woman, a 28-year-old peasant named Gusesva, failed her attempt at suicide. She later told police that Rasputin was a false prophet who was leading the country astray.

An unconfirmed report in one wire service claimed that Rasputin had died.


Gregori Rasputin
Not so fast. He recovered and went on to live another two and a half years until meeting his final fate in a murder that remains legendary to this day.

The attempted assassination in July 1914 was widely reported throughout Europe.


You probably know the rest of the tale: Rasputin, a mystic and wandering pilgrim, had caught the eye of Czarina Alexandra in 1905. Two years later, the Czarina's sole son and heir to the throne was injured and lay bleeding. The boy had hemophilia. When doctors couldn't provide a cure, Alexandra turned to Rasputin, who was believed to have healing powers through prayer. For whatever reason, the boy recovered.

The mystic soon became involved in Russian politics, advising the Czar not to go to war with Germany in the days leading up to the World War. "If Russia goes to war, it will be the end of the monarchy, of the Romanovs and of Russian institutions," he purportedly wrote on the eve of the conflict.

The prognosis proved correct, but the Russian aristocracy didn't take kindly to his meddling, especially after he began advising the Czar on war tactics. In December 1916, Rasputin was murdered. Legend has it that he was poisoned, to no apparent effect, then shot and clubbed. His corpse was dumped into a river. Debate continues over whether the murder story was true or embellished.


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