Grigory (or Gregory) Rasputin is without
question one of the most sensational figures in Russian history. This mystic
from Siberia arrived in St. Petersburg in 1911 and within a few years had
become one of the most influential men in government. His ability to remain
in such a high position despite widely publicized periods of drinking and
womanizing is no doubt, the source of great envy among political figures
around the world today.

Rasputin's rise to power was due to his
close relationship with the czar Nicholas II's wife, Alexandra. Her
son, Alexis, suffered from hemophaelia, and only Rasputin could do what
the top best doctor were unable to do, stop the boy's bleeding. Because
of this, Alexandra believed he was a holy man sent to protect Alexis and
she always kept him near.

Rasputin is as famous for his death as
he is for his life. At the end of 1916, a group of aristocrats working
with the Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich (a cousin of Nicholas II) decided
that Rasputin's influence had grown too great and that he had to be killed
in order to save Russia. They lured him to the Yusupovsky Palace on the
telling him that Prince Felix Yusupovsky would introduce Rasputin to his
beautiful wife.

Rasputin was led to the cellar and fed
poisoned cakes and wine, but he was unaffected. Yusupovsky then shot the
monk at point blank range and Rasputin collapsed on the floor. When Yusupov
went to tell his fellow conspirators the good news, they sent him back
to make sure he was dead. On returning to inspect the body, Rasputin suddenly
regained consciousness and started to choke Yusupov, who in seeing

Rasputin alive was completely shocked. The Prince fled the cellar, screaming
for help; when they all returned Rasputin was gone. They later found him
in the yard crawling towards the front gate and began to shoot and bludgeon
him. They then bound him in carpet and tossed him into the river. When

Rasputin's body was found, he was untied and his lungs were found to be
filled with water, showing that he didn't actually die until he was thrown
into the river.