Rasputin had very little schooling and was unable to read or write. At age 16 he was arrested for theft, and the citizens of Pokrovskoe appealed to the authorities to excommunicate and exile him. Rasputin was sentenced to three months in prison, which was later commuted to serving his term at Verkhoturye Monastery in Siberia.
Rasputin settled with the lonely monk Makariy, who lived in a rugged hut and practiced rituals and tribal traditions of the Siberian people. Rasputin mentioned that Makariy had cured him of a severe sleep disorder and trained him to practice hypnotism and a vegetarian lifestyle, which included some alcohol and also the use of various weeds and drugs for spiritual transformation according to shamanic rituals.
Rasputin became interested in manipulating people through their weaknesses and beliefs, including use of their personal and social habits as well as their politics and religion. He was also introduced to the banned mystical sect of Khlysty (flagellants), whose had a strong sexual content among other exotic practices. Rasputin evolved into a cynical and ruthless manipulator.
Hiding his manipulative traits under the cover of holyness, he illegally declared himself an Orthodox Christian mystic. He continued his wanderings as a self-proclaimed holy man, often using lies and hypnotism to intimidate people into submission and then used them for his own goals. In October of 1905 Father Sergiy and Father Theofan arranged Rasputin’s introduction to the royal household through some relatives of reigning Romanov family.
Rasputin convinced the Empress, Tsarina Alexandra, that he could improve the health of young Crown Prince Aleksey. Both Tsar Nicholas II and his wife were devastated and demoralized by their son’s illness, and their anxiety and desperation was used by Rasputin, and the people behind him, in a crafty way to achieve goals that suited their political agenda.
The Empress became a patron of Rasputin, who soon established himself as an extremely powerful figure within the Russian court. The Emperor was calling Rasputin a holy man and referred to him as our friend. Rasputin referred to the Emperor and the Empress only as papa and mama.
I write and leave behind me this letter at St. Petersburg. I feel that I shall leave life before January 1st.
I wish to make known to the Russian people, to Papa, to the Russian Mother and to the children, to the land of Russia, what they must understand. If I am killed by common assassins, and especially by my brothers the Russian peasants, you, Tsar of Russia, have nothing to fear, remain on your throne and govern, and you, Russian Tsar, will have nothing to fear for your children, they will reign for hundreds of years in Russia. But if I am murdered by boyars, nobles, and if they shed my blood, their hands will remain soiled with my blood, for twenty-five years they will not wash their hands from my blood. They will leave Russia.
Brothers will kill brothers, and they will kill each other and hate each other, and for twenty-five years there will be no nobles in the country. Tsar of the land of Russia, if you hear the sound of the bell which will tell you that Grigory has been killed, you must know this: if it was your relations who have wrought my death then no one of your family, that is to say, none of your children or relations will remain alive for more than two years. They will be killed by the Russian people … I shall be killed. I am no longer among the living.
Pray, pray, be strong, think of your blessed family.
Words written in a letter to the Tsarina Alexandra, 7 Dec 1916. 23 days later, Rasputin was killed, by two relatives of the Tsar Nicholas II. 19 months after Rasputin’s death, the Tsar and his family lay dead.
In 1916, during the most difficult time in the First World War, brothers of Tsar Nicholas II obtained evidence that Rasputin was secretly negotiating a peace treaty with Germany while Russia’s position in the war was not good. Peasants deserted from the Russian Army by hundreds of thousands, then armed peasants came to St. Petersburg and joined the communist revolutionary brigades. Rasputin’s secret activity and his contacts with the Germans became a political scandal.
Grand Prince Nicholas, announced that he wants to hang Rasputin for treachery as a spy, albeit Rasputin was under the protection of the Empress Tsarina Alexandra, who herself was German. That led to a plot by a group of aristocrats, led by Prince Feliks Yusupov, to assassinate him, but Rasputin was officially guarded by six agents from the Russian Imperial Security under constant supervision of specially assigned officers who lived in Rasputin’s house in St. Petersburg.
In November of 1916, Prince Yusupov pretended that he had chest pains and obtained a high recommendation to become a patient of Rasputin. Prince Feliks Yusupov made several visits to Rasputin as a patient and soon he made friends with Rasputin and presented him a picture of his wife, beautiful Princess Irene Yusupov, niece of the Emperor Tsar Nicholas II. Rasputin immediately became horny and expressed his desire to meet the beauty.
On December 16, 1916, Prince Yusupov and his fellow officers designed a plan centered on using the beautiful Princess Irina Yusupov, as a bait. On December 29, 1916, Prince Feliks Yusupov personally invited Rasputin to a dinner and drove him to Yusupov’s Moika Palace in St. Petersburg. Rasputin was plied with wine and food that had been laced with cyanide, albeit the plotters were oblivious to the fact of chemistry that cyanide is often neutralized by some ingredients in food, as it turns into a harmless salt in most desserts and wines.
When the poison had no apparent effect on Rasputin, Prince Feliks Yusupov pulled out his gun and fired, but Rasputin’s life was saved because the first bullet was reflected by the hard metal button on his coat, he was wounded, but still managed to jump up and tried to escape out of the Moika Palace. Then Prince Yusupov and Count Vladimir Purishkevich together with their friend, British intelligence officer Oswald Rayner, pulled out their guns and fired at Rasputin, then, noticing that he was still trying to get up, they clubbed him into submission. In the early morning of December 30, 1916, members of the plot wrapped Rasputin and dragged him into the icy waters until he finally drowned in the Neva River.