24 thoughts on “South Korean president’s ‘Rasputin’ spiritualist-financial scandal

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  11. On December 30, 1916, Grigori Rasputin, the Siberian-born religious mystic who had exerted inordinate influence over the Tsarist regime, and had a particularly close relationship with the Tsarina, was murdered in Petrograd. The assassination was a symptom of the increasingly crisis-ridden character of the autocracy which had ruled Russia for centuries, amid heavy Russian defeats in the First World War and mounting opposition in the working class.

    With Tsar Nicholas II at the front in personal command of Russian forces, the Tsarina had granted almost complete power in Petrograd to Rasputin. Ministers and government officials were routinely removed at Rasputin’s behest, and replaced by his cronies.

    In the middle of November, Paul Milyukov, a leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party, denounced the Tsarina, Rasputin and the conduct of the government in the Duma, the Russian parliament. “Is this folly or treason?” Milyukov asked. Even the extreme right-wing deputies joined in the denunciation of the government.

    In late December, the Duma issued a declaration against the “dark forces,” referring to Rasputin and his cohorts, who it accused of “undermining the country’s best efforts to conduct the war and creating disorganization in all departments of the government and in the interior.” The Council of the Empire and the Council of the Nobles passed the same resolution.

    On December 30, Rasputin was invited to the home of Prince Felix Yusupov, husband of the Tsar’s niece. Yusupov and a group of conspirators first sought to poison Rasputin with cyanide. When this failed, they shot him. He managed to survive. The assassins battered him and dropped his body in the Neva River where it was found three days later.

    In his History of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky noted that the murder occurred amid murmurings of a “palace coup” within Russian ruling and aristocratic circles, concerned over the implications of the deepening crisis of the Tsarist autocracy. The Tsar and Tsarina responded to the assassination by promoting Rasputin’s cronies, and banishing a number of aristocratic figures implicated in the killing.

    Trotsky noted that within 10 weeks of Rasputin’s murder, the regime would fall in the February revolution of 1917. He wrote, “The murder of Rasputin played a colossal role, but a very different one from that upon which its perpetrators and inspirers had counted. It did not weaken the crisis, but sharpened it. People talked of the murder everywhere: in the palaces, in the staffs, at the factories, and in the peasant’s huts. The inference drew itself: even the grand dukes have no other recourse against the leprous camarilla except poison and the revolver. The poet Blok wrote of the murder of Rasputin: ‘The bullet which killed him reached the very heart of the ruling dynasty’.”


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