How did Rasputin really die?

How did Rasputin really die?: Author’s Note

Cristen Conger, Staff Writer
hsw 2009

Researching Rasputin's death was like unraveling a historical mystery, since the events surrounding it were almost too bizarre to be true. Imagine what it would be like if America's first family befriended a fringe mystic and allowed him to squat at the White House. And not only that, imagine that this mystical healer, whose religious practice also involved sexual orgies, became so intimately connected with the president and first lady that he'd take to calling them "Papa" and "Mama." Congress would probably figure out a way to finagle an impeachment. That's more or less what happened when Rasputin, an itinerant mystic, met Czarina Alexandra and wooed his way into a role as Russia's top government adviser for a decade.

While writing the article, I wanted to pass along the same fascination that gripped me as I learned about this iconic figure in Russian history. By framing the article around the details of Rasputin's death and the conspiracy theories that have since cropped up since, I tried to grant equal importance to the details of the mystic's life and also his murder. Because even after death, Rasputin and his "green eyes like a viper" still managed to speak to -- and spook -- the Russian people.


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