It has been 100 years since Grigory Rasputin was murdered in Russia. And yet he continues to fascinate us. He was born a peasant in Siberia, found God, and made his way to the St. Petersburg palace of Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra in 1905.
Struggling to understand their roles as monarchs, and bewildered by the forces of revolution at their doorstep, Nicholas and Alexandra turned to Rasputin for spiritual and political guidance. But ironically it was his powerful hold over them that led to his death and to the heartless slaughter of the royal family less than two years later.
The story of Rasputin and the royal family has been told in countless books and movies. He’s been played – mostly as a demonic force of evil – by dozens of actors over the years. And now, a new picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Rasputin may be in the works.
But it turns out that our popular understanding of Rasputin may be all wrong. Author Douglas Smith spent six years digging deeply into archives across Russia and Siberia to get to the truth of who the man best known as the Mad Monk really was. His book “Rasputin: Faith, Power and the Twilight of the Romanovs,” debunks many of the myths surrounding Rasputin, and makes it clear that he may in fact have been one of the earliest victims of fake news.
In various photos, Rasputin could appear to be demonic:
Here’s the trailer for the 1932 motion picture “Rasputin and the Empress,” starring three members of the Barrymore acting family: