Question by squid poop: How was Grigori Rasputin viewed by his society?
Please give me information that sounds legit, at least, not something like ‘They thought Rasputin was bad’.
Answers and Views:
Answer by JosF
Not very positive to say the least. By doing what he did he created real hatred and envy – even if he had been a true saint, which he wasn’t.
He had a gift of calming people. That’s why he was introduced to the highest court; he had a soothing effect on the crown prince. That alone created a LOT of envy.
But he behaved far from being a saint, more like the opposite. He drank like a dragoon humped anything (M/F) willing and was generally a rude person. Not unexpected, given his background.
Add that to the growing influence he had on the empress, and I am not surprised he met an untimely end. I’m more surprised why it took so long for it to happen.
Answer by John P
The imperial court would have thought of Rasputin as someone wirh influence over the tsarina, since Rasputin could calm the tsarevitch when he had a bleeding fit because of his haemophilia. That was how R gained such influence – his ability to save the tsarevitch. Don’t forget that the tsarina was German and thus was under suspicion when the war was going badly for Russia, even though she was a good patriot for Russia. In general it was recognised that relying on the pronouncements and actions of a weird mystic was no way to conduct a war. Mystics (Russian word ‘starets’)such as R were part of the scene in Russia in general, he was possibly the only one who had such influence.
Answer by chana devora
He was viewed differently by different classes. The peasantry loved him, not only because he was one of their own in the Tsar’s court, but because they knew and respected him as a healer, long before he ever arrived in St. Petersburg.
The clergy hated him because he drew greater crowds than they did, generally. He had a way of relating the scriptures to everyday life, so that people could see how to lead a spiritual life. He was Russian Orthodox, and not of the Khlysty sect. That was just a rumor to discredit him.
The Jews loved him because he advocated equal rights for them. The oppressed Jews of Tsarist Russia were mostly forced to live in a ghetto between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea (Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, etc.), were denied educations, most occupations, and the right to live where they wanted. In addition, they were subject to regular raids, called ‘pogroms’, by the military and vigilantes, where they would torture and slaughter entire villages of Jews.
Rasputin was horrified by this and begged the Tsar, as well as the cabinet members, to accord the Jews equal rights. This turned many, especially the very antisemitic aristocracy, against him. They went on a campaign to discredit him, accusing him of being a womanizer and a drunkard. This was somewhat hypocritical, considering the nobility’s propensity for drinking French champagne and vodka by the case, as well as the fact that venereal disease was rife among them, due to their own promiscuity. Some historians have said that if Rasputin had been an aristocrat, no one would have thought anything of it if he’d had affairs and drank.
Political cartoons in the newspapers of the time depict Rasputin the same way they depicted Jews – as ugly, demonic, greedy and filthy. This was how they attempted to sway public opinion.
When he died, while the aristocracy rejoiced, the peasantry and the Jews mourned.
Answer by staisil
The contemporary press as well as sensationalist articles and books that were published in the 1920s and 1930s (one of them even by Yusupov, Rasputin’s main murderer) turned the charismatic peasant into something of a 20th century folk myth. To Westerners, Rasputin became the embodiment of the purported Russian backwardness, superstition, irrationality and licentiousness, and an object of sensational interest; to the Russian Communists, he represented all that was evil in the old regime and had been overcome in the revolution. Yet to the ordinary Russian people, he remained a symbol of the voice of the peasantry, and many (Russians) to this day reject the myths, honoring the man. In fact, after the fall of the Communist government, key documentation was discovered, and the Church considered canonizing Rasputin as a martyr.
Since the end of Communism in Russia in the 1990s, some Russian nationalists appeared to have tried to whitewash Rasputin’s reputation and use the powerful 20th century archetype that he has become for their own end. New evidence that has surfaced since the end of the Soviet Union, however, at first appeared to refute their claims of his saintliness.
This documentation is primarily in the form of notes written by individuals who were paid to keep surveillance on Rasputin’s apartment, recording his comings and goings as well as visitors to the apartment. That this was being done was not a secret at the time, and Rasputin occasionally expressed annoyance at this. It has been noted in books written as early as 1919 that those notes are, at best, highly questionable, intended to “prove” the allegations of those who paid to have such “proof” documented.
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