Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Russian Dolls: Rasputin, Russian Healer

Curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know who was the man that Michael Levitis chose to name his restaurant after. After reading about Rasputin I am even more confused as to why he would use his name for his restaurant. 

Rasputin seems to have been a man of many talents, most notable was that of healer. Born in 1869 and murdered in 1916, Rasputin was also known for being a madman, a womanizer, a hater of baths and a friend of the royal family. Quite a nice resume for a man who was born a peasant and became accepted into “high society” for his spiritualism and exoticism, which were “fashionable” at that time.

He became popular in the Russian Orthodox Church and had a lot of influence with the Royal family, the Romanovs. Czar Nicholas II practically treated this “madman” as an equal and that damaged the royal family’s reputation. Between 1906 and 1914, Rasputin politicians and journalists used his influence with the royal family to discredit them and force them out of power.

Why was Rasputin treated with such respect by the royal family? The czar’s only son and heir to the throne, Alexis, had hemophilia and could easily bleed to death. Rasputin was able to heal the boy several times from minor wounds that could have cost him his life. So they felt Rasputin was sent to them by God. And since Czar Nicholas II could not tell the public about his son’s condition, for fear it would weaken the monarchy, they could not explain why Rasputin enjoyed their favor and was allowed to live in the palace.

During World War I, Czar Nicholas left for two years to attend to his army and Rasputin was the advisor to Empress Alexandra. The communists felt things had gone too far and Rasputin’s influence was too great. They decided he had to die. They made several attempts to kill him. First they tried poison, but several doses had no effect on him. In December 1916 he was murdered by a group of conspirators. The royal family, because of their association with him, were all assassinated.

Though he was not an attractive man, Rasputin had charisma and charm that women found very alluring and irresistible. His healing powers seem legitimate and his womanizing legendary, but it is difficult to know with certitude how much of his story is true.

Picture credit: www.lilith-ezine.com

No comments:

Post a Comment