To our left is the Oxford, University College, it’s had several Prime Ministers, Australian and British, American President Clinton, and a current member of the US Supreme Court. One of the most interesting characters at the college was Prince Yusupov.
The man who killed Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin was a Russian from Siberia, born in 1869 into the lower Russian classes. He rose to prominence by Religious conversion and the apparent ability to heal the sick, with some extraordinary accounts coming from Doctors, army officers and members of the Aristocracy.
Rasputin & Prince Yusupov
This is a tale of mystery.
The accounts are credible and incredible. The King (also known as Tsar, supposedly from the word Caesar.) has a son who suffered from Haemophilia. No cure was known at the time, other than rest. If you were cut, bruised or any form of bleeding it was difficult for your body to heal it. Several incidents happened, which caused the royal family to call on Rasputin’s abilities to come to heal the boy. Both from the bedside and from as far as Siberia.
I’ve seen accounts from Doctors who claimed that he just waved his hand over the child and the bleeding stopped. One conclusion is that his words would calm the child, allowing him to rest, but even today doctors baffled by this. Nonetheless, Rasputin gained favour in the courts. The Tsar and Tsarina ignored his behaviours such as orgies and drinking. Rasputin could link religion and sin through repenting. idea was that even though they are a sin. You were allowed to repent making your pure again or even purer or it was because there was a large number of people you would nullify the effects and all would instantly absolve each other. He was accused of seducing women of the court, married and single, the Tsarina. Due to his influence in court, he sold government positions in exchange for money or favours.
Considering this was the age of Kings/Tsars and Tsarinas/Queens and social mobility was not possible for most. Rasputin climbed the social hierarchy quickly and to it’s greatest heights. During the war, he had authority over military matters.
This was to come to an end, and Felix Yusupov was to lead the move to assassinate Rasputin. Rasputin came to Yusupov’s estate, he took food and drink laced with Cyanid, but it had no effect. Yusupova shocked by this went upstairs and shot him. Believing he was dead, Yusupova and the other conspirators took off in a car. They returned to Rasputin’s home, to make it look as if Rasputin had returned home. When Yusupova came back to check on the body Rasputin jumped to his feet and attacked Yusupova, and attempted to flee. Yusupova and his conspirators wrapped the body in a carpet and threw it off a nearby bridge.
Rasputin had prophesied that if he died, Russia would lose the war and the government/monarchy would collapse. He died in December and the Tsar abdicated in March the following year. Felix and his wife moved out of Russia, passed near Sicily on the island of Malta and settled in France, wrote an account of the death of Rasputin in the 1920s and died in the 1960s.
More tall tales of Oxford and its adventures next week.