A Cat That Really Was Gone

Boney M one of my mother’s favourite Bands has a very peppy song in their album about Rasputin. Though I have heard it on and off through out my childhood, I really sat and listened to it yesterday and it seems I can’t stop listening to it ever since (even as I write this).

The song is about a Raw Raw Man Rasputin with a flaming glow in his eyes, who was not just the Russian Queen’s Lover, not simply the greatest love-making machine in Russia, he was also a cat that really was gone

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Some description!

The song narrates the rise and fall of Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin.

The song’s final stanza is devoted to the episode where he gets killed. Though it has been told over and over, it is worth countless re-telling.

Some men of higher standing – Prince Felix Yusupov, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, and the right-wing politician Vladimir Purishkevich – invited Rasputin to Yusupovs’ Moika Palace. Yusupov Palace

He arrived at Midnight.

They took him to the basement.

They gave him tea and cakes and three glasses of wine, poisoned with cyanide.

As the song says, he drank it and felt nothing.

Around 2:30, they got fed up, asked Rasputin to tell his prayers and shot him once on the chest.

Man did not die.He was shot again in the Palace courtyard, where the action was now taking palace.

He fell on the thick snow.

carved-oak-door-of-the-yusupov-palace-in-st-petersburg

Yusupov’s Moika Palace Front Door Made of Oak

Rasputin’s dead body was now wrapped in cloth and was taken to the Petrovsky Bridge and dropped into the Malaya Nevka River.

The next day, two passing workmen saw blood stains on the bridge span, bridge panels, railing and bridge supports.

On New Year, Rasputin’s body was found by the police near the bridge.

Later on, Tsarina Alexandra buried his body in a town Tsarskoye Selo (A world heritage site) , about 24km from St Petersburg.

During the Russian Revolution a group of workers from St Petersburg uncovered the remains and burned the body in a nearby woods.

I quote wikipedia now –

“As the body was being burned, Rasputin appeared to sit up in the fire. His apparent attempts to move and get up thoroughly horrified bystanders. ”

Reason for this phenomena –

“The effect can probably be attributed to improper cremation;[citation needed] since the body was in inexperienced hands, the tendons were probably not cut before burning. Consequently, when the body was heated, the tendons shrank, forcing the legs to bend and the body to bend at the waist, resulting in its appearing to sit up”

His official autopsy report disappeared during the Stalin era.

Recent evidence suggests that neither was he poisoned, nor drowned to death.

Reports suggest that Rasputin had been systematically beaten and attacked with a bladed weapon; but, most importantly, there were discrepancies regarding the number and caliber of handguns used.

There is also a theory that British Intelligence agents, along with friendly Yusupov, who is an alumni of Oxford University, were behind Rasputin’s death.

Reason – He was urging the Tsar to to make a separate Peace Treaty with Germany and withdraw from the war. This would have upset British plan to keep Germany occupied on both fronts.

Rasputin’s daughter emigrated to France and then to US. Her memoirs paint a saintly picture of Rasputin.

Dead_Rasputin

Oh Those Russians!

Rasputin is a very intriguing figure in world history. His story will always draw interest from various corners since his life was a manifestation of power, politics, lust, intrigue, jealousy and murder. Its impossible to find his story boring.

I am very much looking forward to Leonardo DeCaprio’s portrayal of this very interesting man.