FINAL HISTORICAL INVESTIGATION
Word Count: 1,993

A.) Plan of Investigation

The question of this investigation is In what ways did Rasputin’s role with the Imperial family frame the opinion of the common public? The purpose of this investigation is to determine how the trusted, controversial confident of the Imperial family, Rasputin, affected the public’s opinion the family’s image. This will be looking at the public opinion of the commoners of Russia and how that affected the support of the Tsar government. What will not be included is the opinion of Rasputin of people outside of Russia, the problems and events taking place in Russian during this time, only focusing on areas concerning Rasputin. This will be done through reading numerous books about Rasputin and the Imperial family, and also accounts from this time.

B.) Summary of Evidence

Perception of Rasputin
  • • Rasputin was a peasant monk in his early thirties, known for his eccentricities and many relations with women. He had a rancid strong body odor, and didn’t wash or change clothes
  • • "Whenever [Rasputin] met anyone for the first time he is said to have stared at him for an uncomfortably long time, looking directly into his face.”[i]
  • • The public saw Rasputin as evil, calling him a monster, yet, unlike most monsters in history; he took not a single life.[ii]
Odd Relationship with Imperial Family
  • • Many of the Russian public believed that the “relationship between Alexandra and Rasputin confirmed the worst. People assumed their connection was scandalous and sexual.”[iii]
  • • The Empress seemed to be under the spell of Rasputin. This was because “[Rasputin’s healing powers] gave him an immense hold over [the Empress], and, quite as important, convinced her of his holiness, his wisdom and ultimately of the quality of his political judgment.”[iv]
  • • In the eyes of the empress, Rasputin could do no wrong. “When the Duma debated “The Rasputin question” and the press cried out against his excesses, the Empress demanded dissolution of the one and suppression of the other. She defended Rasputin so strongly that it became difficult for people to dissociate in their minds the Empress and moujik. If she had determined to hate all his enemies, it was not surprising that his enemies decided to hate her.”[v]
  • • Rasputin was said to undermine the reputation of the tsar, and, still more important, of the throne. Rasputin’s closeness to the imperial family had already done serious damage to the dynasty.[vi]
  • • “It was sufficient that he should be known to be their intimate for their reputation to suffer gravely.”[vii]
  • • “The girls of the family never spoke of Rasputin to Gilliard and he figured they had no particular respect for Rasputin.
Russian public opinions of Rasputin
  • • The public saw Rasputin as a weight, bringing down the dynasty. “’Rasputin has an uncannily appropriate ring tailor-made for the sexually hyperactive peasant who brought down the dynasty. His presence was much more damaging than any revolutionary activity.’”[viii]
  • • As Rasputin became more of a public figure, the more threat was posed to the autocracy. “Slowly but surely Rasputin was moving into the eye of a public for whom his existence as an intimate of Vroubova, let alone the empress, was a scandal, a breach of etiquette so enormous that it posed a threat to the very fabric of autocracy.”[ix]
  • • The all the members of the Russian court were in agreement that the issue of Rasputin needed to be taken care of. With that, they thought “on one matter, grand dukes, generals and members of the Duma all agreed: Rasputin had to be removed.”[x]
  • • “He was therefore feared-and now he began to be hated by more and more people.”[xi]
  • • Russian public assumed Rasputin was a German spy.
  • • “The hostility Rasputin inspired at court began to make his existence a public issue. To many eyes, that he should enjoy the imperial favour cast a slur upon the tsar and the tsarina and brought the autocracy into disrepute long before anyone supposed that Rasputin had any real power.”[xii]
  • • With so much hate from the Russian public, Rasputin’s death was met with celebration. “In Petrograd, where everyone knew the details and juicy stories of the Rasputin scandal, confirmation that the Beast was slain set off an orgy of wild rejoicing. People kissed each other in the streets.”[xiii]
His Influence/Power over the Tsar
  • • As more time passed, the more power Rasputin gained becoming “the most powerful man in Russia after the tsar.”[xiv]
  • • The Tsar began to go to Rasputin for advice and “Rasputin’s power at Court was quite open and undisputed now. The Tsar never failed to consult him and obtain his advice before coming to any important decision and soon no man could be appointed to any ministerial post unless Rasputin approved.”[xv]
  • • It was said that Rasputin had no political influence before 1908 but that he was now ‘the central question of the nearest future’. Rasputin was constantly saying to the Emperor, ‘why don’t you act as a tsar should?
  • • “As I looked at him,” he wrote afterwards, “I knew that this Rasputin, this coarse peasant from the Siberian steppes, was the most dangerous man I had ever met.”[xvi]
  • • “Government ministers, members of the Duma, the church hierarchy and the press all attacking him, Rasputin counterattacked in the only way open to him: by going to the Empress. Rasputin became a political influence in Russia in self-defense.”[xvii]
  • • “If there had been no Rasputin, there would have been no Lenin.”[xviii]
  • • His influence was more damaging as he turned away crucial advisors the tsar. “Rasputin made a substantial contribution to the fall of the dynasty, by alienating persons who could have advised the tsar and tsarina better, by encouraging the disastrous influence of Alexandra, by advocating the most injudicious ministerial appointments.”[xix]
  • • The press started to speak openly about Rasputin and control of Alexandra. They spoke of Rasputin "as a sinister adventurer who controlled appointments in the Church and had the ear of the Empress”. Nicholas ordered the banning of any mention of Rasputin in press must pay fines. The editors all paid the fines and wrote the stories.[xx]


C.) Evaluation of Sources

Massie, Robert. Nicholas and Alexandra. New York: Ballantine, 1967. Print.

The book, Nicholas and Alexandra, is written by Robert K. Massie, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and published in 1967. He studied American History at Yale University and European history at Oxford University. The purpose of this book is to inform readers about events happening during the time of the Imperial government in Russia, concerning the Tsar, his family and other individuals that they were close with, including Rasputin. The value of this source is that it provides information regarding the public and press’ views of Rasputin. In addition there was information on the overall view of him. However a limitation of this source is that it didn’t really give much information on the public view of Rasputin’s influence with the Imperial family and how the public viewed his close relationship to the Imperial family.

Liepman, Heinz. The Mad Monk of Russia. New York: Rolton, 1964. Print.

This book, The Mad Monk of Russia, is written by Heinz Liepman, a German writer and journalist. His other pieces of work included books on Russia and the Imperial family. The purpose of this book was is to inform readers about the life of Rasputin. This gives the insight of how Rasputin was considered to be “mad” by the Russian public. The value of the book is that it provides information concerning different views of Rasputin. It gave some different ways how Rasputin was viewed and considered, why he was considered to be a “mad monk”. However a limitation of this book was that it didn’t discuss the Imperial family with Rasputin in depth.

D. Analysis

If Rasputin had not been such a controversial figure in the spotlight of Russian society, then the downfall of the Imperial Family may not have occurred as rapidly as it did. Rasputin, being a close confidant of the Imperial family, linked them to his questionable activities and lifestyle. The perception of Rasputin played a part in this, with his known sketchiness, many relations with women and rancid strong body odor. A common theme found in the majority of sources was that Rasputin was known for his seediness, whether that pertained to his appearance or relations with others (especially women). This common theme appeared more once Rasputin became a close confidant to the Tsar and his family, with the opinion of him combining with the opinion of them. This began to cast a dark image over the family.
While perception played a part in framing the opinion, it is important to notice the mysterious relationship that took place not only between Rasputin and Alexandra, but also between Rasputin and the entire Imperial Family. The majority of the sources used stressed on how the relationship Rasputin carried on with the family, especially Alexandra was a disgrace. The source by Alex de Jonge that was used in this investigation emphasized that relationship with evidence that revealed the influence of Rasputin on the Tsarina’s image. He states that “when the Duma debated “The Rasputin question” and the press cried out against his excesses, the Empress demanded dissolution of the one and suppression of the other. She defended Rasputin so strongly that it became difficult for people to dissociate in their minds the Empress and moujik. If she had determined to hate all his enemies, it was not surprising that his enemies decided to hate her.” v The public, who disliked the peasant Rasputin, began to dislike the family as a result of their intimacy.
Although Rasputin was used to heal the young Tsar, he caused rumors and hate for the Imperial family. The public blamed Rasputin for bringing down the dynasty. The general consensus of the Russian public concurred that Rasputin’s “presence was much more damaging than any revolutionary activity” viii He was credited with the downfall of the dynasty.
This common peasant also had a large influence and power over the Tsar. Most of the sources used, including Massie’s Nicholas and Alexandra exposed Rasputin’s influence over the Tsar in the context of making decisions, It was said that the Tsar always consulted Rasputin for advice before any important decision. This did not create an image for the Tsar, the leader of Russian consulting a controversial commoner on major decisions to be made for the country. This aspect led to even more dissent of the public.
With growing opposition of the failing dynasty, evidence shows that Rasputin only added to that, adding to the fall of the Romanov and Imperial rule of Russia.



E. Conclusion

In many ways, it is accurate to say that Rasputin’s role with the Imperial Family framed the opinion of the common public. Because of the perception of Rasputin, his odd relationship with Imperial Family, the Russian public opinion of him and his influence over the Tsar, Rasputin evidently had some part in the downfall of the Tsar. Although the influence of Rasputin was not the only factor adding to the negative image of the Imperial family, it was a large contributing pressure. With the eye of the public focused on the negative aspects of Rasputin, this in the end, contributed in the opinion of the Tsar and his family. Rasputin’s role with the Imperial Family framed the opinion of the Russian common public.


F. List of Sources

Liepman, Heinz. The Mad Monk of Russia. New York: Rolton, 1964. Print.
Massie, Robert. Nicholas and Alexandra. New York: Ballantine, 1967. Print.
Null, Gary. The Conspirator Who Saved the Romanovs. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1971. Print.
Pares, Bernard. The Fall of the Russian Monarchy. New York: Vintage, 1939. Print.
Jonge, Alex De. The Life and Times of Grigorii Rasputin. New York: Coward, 1982.
Print.
“Grigori Rasputin.” World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 2 Mar. 2012.


Endnotes

[i] Liepman, Heinz. The Mad Monk of Russia. New York: Rolton, 1964. Print. Pg.52
[ii] Massie, Robert. Nicholas and Alexandra. New York: Ballantine, 1967. Print.
Pg. 361
[iii] Massie 347
[iv] Jonge, Alex De. The Life and Times of Grigorii Rasputin. New York: Coward, 1982. Print. Pg. 52
[v] Jonge 222
[vi] Liepman 214
[vii] Jonge 171
[viii] Ibid 31
[ix] Ibid 64
[x] Ibid 349
[xi] Liepman 149
[xii] Jonge 172
[xiii] Massie 36
[xiv] Jonge 259
[xv] Liepman 143
[xvi] Ibid 106
[xvii] Massie 222
[xviii] Ibid 504
[xix] Jonge 344
[xx] Massie 217








ANNOTATIONS:
MEMO#1
Liepman, Heinz. The Mad Monk of Russia. New York: Rolton, 1964. Print.
Origin: Heinz Liepman was a German writer and journalist. He wrote books on Rasputin and Imperial Russia, and also about the Weimar Republic. This book was very old, and the author did not include a bibliography or a works cited. This is a scholarly piece of work and has information that corresponds with other books, but is not as credible. There is very little known other information about this man.
Purpose: The purpose of this book was informative. It is supposed to inform readers about the life of Rasputin. This gives the insight of how Rasputin was considered to be “mad”.
Value: This book provided information concerning different views of Rasputin. It gave some different ways how Rasputin was viewed and considered, why he was called the “mad monk”.
  • “Whenever he met anyone for the first time he is said to have stared at him for an uncomfortably long time, looking directly into his face.” Pg 52
  • “As I looked at him,” he wrote afterwards, “I knew that this Rasputin, this coarse peasant from the Siberian steppes, was the most dangerous man I had ever met.” Pg 106
  • “He was therefore feared-and now he began to be hated by more and more people.” Pg 129
  • “Rasputin’s power at Court was quite open and undisputed now. The Tsar never failed to consult him and obtain his advice before coming to any important decision and soon no man could be appointed to any ministerial post unless Rasputin approved.” Pg 143
“He was undermining the reputation of the tsar, and, still more important, of the throne.” Pg 214
Limitations: A limitation of this book was that it didn’t discuss the Imperial family much. It provided a lot of information concerning Rasputin and with public views, but didn’t have much about that with the Imperial family.

MEMO #2
Massie, Robert. Nicholas and Alexandra. New York: Ballantine, 1967. Print.
Origin- Robert K. Massie is a Pulitzer Prize winning author. He studied American History at Yale University and European history at Oxford University. In addition, he has written a few other books, some concerning Russia, and others about Britain and Germany regarding war.
Purpose-The purpose of this book was informative. It is supposed to inform readers about events happening during the time of the Imperial government in Russia, concerning the Tsar, his family and other individuals that they were close with, including Rasputin.

Value- This book was very useful when finding information to answer my research question. I found a bit of information about the public and press’ view of Rasputin. In addition, I found information on the overall view of him. The information about Rasputin that I found is:
  • Peasant monk from Siberia.
  • Holy man, had many relations with women.
  • “The press began to speak openly of Rasputin as a sinister adventurer who controlled appointments in the Church and had the ear of the Empress”(217).
  • Nicholas ordered the banning of any mention of Rasputin in press must pay fines. The editors all paid the fines.
  • “Government ministers, members of the Duma, the church hierarchy and the press all attacking him, Rasputin counterattacked in the only way open to him: by going to the Empress. Rasputin became a political influence in Russia in self-defense” (222).
  • Russian public assumed Rasputin was a German spy.
  • Relationship between Alexandra and Rasputin confirmed the worst. People assumed their connection was sexual”(347).
  • Public assumed that relationship with the Empress was scandalous and sexual.
  • “If there had been no Rasputin, there would have been no Lenin” (504).
  • “He has been called a monster, yet, unlike most monsters in history, ho took not a single life” (361).
  • “In Petrograd, where everyone knew the details and juicy stories of the Rasputin scandal, confirmation that the Beast was slain set off an orgy of wild rejoicing. People kissed each other in the streets”(360).
Limitations- Regarding this book, the limitations were that it didn’t really give much information on the public view of Rasputin’s influence with the Imperial family. It touched on ideas about their thoughts on his actions and background, but was limited when concerning how the public viewed his close relationship to the Imperial family.

MEMO #3
Null, Gary. The Conspirator Who Saved the Romanovs. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1971. Print.
Origin: This piece of work is very old and there is no information to be found about this author.
Purpose: The purpose of this book is to inform readers. The book is informative and told from the point of view of Aaron Simanovitsch, a close confident of Rasputin. This gives the reader a different point of view than normally given.
Value: This book was very helpful in finding information of the public’s view of Rasputin. It gives several of examples of how the Russian public viewed Rasputin.
  • “The most inscrutable, most despised, most scandalized and feared public figure in Russian history: the enigmatic Russian starets Father Grigori-known to the world as Rasputin, “the Defiled one.” Pg 2
  • When Rasputin was first introduced to the Russian public, the people, he intrigued especially the ladies. “They came figuratively to lick his boots. To them he was holy. They flocked to him to offer themselves up body and soul, and he chose form among them. They loved his earthiness, his holiness, his mystic ambiance.” Pg 31
  • “When the average Russian heard the name of Rasputin, the picture which passed into his mind depicted a drunken, dirty moujik.” Pg 71
  • “They heard him named as the hero of too many scandalous stories and the perpetrator of incredibly wild orgies at Villa Rodé.” Pg 71
  • “Most men described his presence at the court by employing a conspiratorial theory: he was a subtly disguised foreign agent, they said, bent on the destruction of Mother Russia.” Pg 71
  • “When Nicholas appointed new ministers, he would say to them, “the only man in the world who merits my trust is Father Grigori. He is a messenger from God, a truly holy man. He is my confidant and I love him like a brother.” Pg 71
  • “…Found out about plot against his life aroused from resentment of Rasputin.” Pg 88
Limitations: One of the limitations of this book was that it didn’t discuss the Imperial family and Rasputin’s relationship in great detail. This book mainly focused on the image of Rasputin in Russia, not putting much emphasis on Rasputin with the Imperial family.
MEMO #4
Pares, Bernard. The Fall of the Russian Monarchy. New York: Vintage, 1939. Print.
Origin: Sir Bernard Pares was an English historian and academic widely known for his work on Russia. He attended both Harrow and Cambridge University. Pares developed an interest in Russia and began visiting the country and immersing himself in Russian events. He wrote several books on the history of Russia, as an eyewitness source.
Purpose: The purpose of this book is to inform readers. The book is informative about the time period during the fall of the Russian Monarchy. The book gives valid information from an eyewitness source.
Value: This book was extremely helpful in researching to answer my research question. The book included the events leading up to the fall of the Monarchy in Russia, and also gave a little information about Rasputin’s role. The information that I found from this book includes:
  • “What was the nature of Rasputin’s influence in the family circle? The foundation of it all was the he could undoubtedly bring relief to the boy, and of this there was no question whatsoever”(137-138).
  • “The girls of the family never spoke of Rasputin to Gilliard. Gilliard thought they had no particular respect for Rasputin”(139)
  • “With the Empress herself Rasputin’s influence was greater, and progressively greater until it was an absolute obsession; but nothing could be clearer than its limitations. He was for her a holy mane, almost a Christ: she at one time speaks of him as such”(139).
  • “The Press took up a general campaign against Rasputin, and the news was full of mother’s complaints and confessions of his victims”(147).
  • “An order was published forbidding any paper to write about Rasputin”(147).
  • “Kokovstev states that Rasputin had no political influence before 1908 but that he was now ‘the central question of the nearest future’. Rasputin was constantly saying to the Emperor, ‘why don’t you act as a tsar should?’(151)
  • “One of the chief contributing factors was the direct influence of Rasputin”(178).
  • “Purishkevich went straight to the root of the whole matter- Rasputin whom he regarded as the destroyed of the dynasty”(396).
Limitations: One of the limitations of this book was that it didn’t discuss the Imperial family and Rasputin’s relationship. It also didn’t give a lot of detail of the public opinion’s of their relationsh