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Badasses in History: Rasputin

Badasses in History: Rasputin

When someone uses the phrase “historical figure” you can usually make two assumptions. First, that the person is probably complaining about a paper they have to write (complaining makes everything better); and second, that the “historical figure” in question is probably dead. We only tend to refer to people as “historical figures” if they’ve been dead for at least half a century or so (sorry Amy Winehouse, but you'll have to wait). Unfortunately, we can’t be so sure about this week’s Historical Badass. You see, our guy has this thing about cheating death.

That’s right, I’m talking about Rasputin, the Mad Monk. Before we get into the whole “this-guy-just-won’t-die-he’s-the-devil-save-us-Jesus” bit, it’s time to provide some background.

But first check out his picture.

Yeah, this dude was one crazy motherfucker. Look into those eyes and tell me you don’t see a gateway to nightmares and years of serious trauma therapy. I don’t think we ever get to see a dementor’s eyes, if it even has them. But if it does, that’s what I think they look like.

I think I’m going to need a drink before this article is over, but we’ll keep going for the moment.

*Deep breath*

Alright. Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was born in 1869 in the small town of Pokrovskoye, Siberia. Upon exiting the womb, he reportedly cackled and wrote up a pact with the Devil then and there. His parents, understandably concerned, tried to enroll him in the local preschool, but historical texts tell us the effort stalled slightly when the school was inexplicably sucked into another dimension while little Cthulhu sat nearby baking muffins.

Years went by and the wee lad Grigori prospered, and by prospered, I mean got way scarier. Like the kid in that movie The Omen, or a teenage Tom Riddle, Rasputin seemed destined for a pale complexion and dead, soulless eyes with a presence that made small children cry and grown men shit themselves with terror.

Eventually, Rasputin joined a monastery and “found God”—I don’t know what god he found, but it sure wasn’t a happy one—at which point events elsewhere conspired to bring him into the limelight.

As it turned out, the family members of the Czar Nicholas II often sickened and died at fairly young ages, and the Czar understandably wanted to see if someone could fucking do something about it. Shamans, old ladies with “homeopathic medicine," and even real doctors tried to find out why and affect a cure, but all failed.

As history informs us, the problem was hemophilia, but since today’s pharmaceutical clusterfuck of drugs was unavailable at the time, there wasn’t much that could be done. Making matters even more interesting, bleeding was a common treatment at the time. Yep. Perhaps the one thing that couldn’t possibly make things worse was being used to treat the Czar’s family.

Here it is expressed as a formula: Bleeding+Hemophilia=Lots of Dead People

Rasputin however, claimed to have the answer. And thanks to his deal with the Devil, he soon became a close confidant for the Czar’s family, especially Czar Nicholas’ wife, Alexandra, who grew to regard Rasputin as her closest adviser after he affected “miraculous” cures. She had so much belief in his powers that she believed God spoke through him.

You can guess how that went over.

His immense influence on the family, and thus on Russia’s ruling policies, was not well regarded by a number of men who thought they could do a far better job of fucking things up than Rasputin, so — doing what all Russian politicians do in a time of upheaval and doubt -- they decided to kill the guy they felt was responsible.

Things got started when the former prostitute Khionia Guseva attacked Rapustin as he was exiting a church. She stabbed him and cut open his stomach. Eyewitness accounts tell us that Rasputin looked at the wound, flipped off the sky, then healed up Wolverine-style and went out to lunch at the Russian version of Denny’s.

It was then that Rasputin received a lovely dinner invitation from Prince Felix Yusupov, who totally wasn’t going to try to kill him. For some reason Old Grigori accepted the invitation and arrived wearing a batman cape. Taking him down to the cellar, the nobles fed Rasputin tons of food, all laced with cyanide, better known to us today as a rat poison.

Now, this would kill fucking anybody. Rasputin however, shrugged it off like nothing, all the while telling his favorite knock-knock jokes. They must have been bad ones to, because one guy got so pissed off that he shot Rasputin in the back.

Relieved that he was finally dead, the nobles started to go off to their coaches, when one idiot realized he’d forgotten his coat. When he went to grab it, Rasputin leaped off the floor like that possessed chick in The Exorcist. Freaked the fuck out, the bastards shot Grigori three more times.

Was he dead?

Nope. The crazy fucker still kept trying to go after them, so they all grabbed clubs and gave him a prison-style beatdown. They then wrapped his body in a sheet and tossed it in the icy — actually, all rivers in Russia are icy — Neva River.

Days later, when Rasputin’s body was found, full of poison, bullet holes, and clubbing wounds, the mortician determined the cause of his death.

Take a guess about what finally killed this preposterously insane fucknut. No really, I’ll wait.

Yep. The cause of death was drowning. He had even broken out of the sheet and tried to swim… with four gunshot wounds and broken bones.

By the way, one of the shots was through his forehead. Yeah.

What. The. Fuck.

To be fair, autopsy reports differ, and several were done on Rasputin with different conclusions, but this is the one I’m going with because, frankly, it’s that badass.

-Josh Kopel

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