Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of Tsar Nicholas II and gained considerable influence in late imperial Russia.
Russia, also officially known as the Russian Federation, is a federal state in Eurasia.
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Born to a peasant family in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye, Rasputin had a religious conversion experience after taking a pilgrimage to a monastery in 1897.
Siberia is an extensive geographical region, and by the broadest definition is also known as North Asia.
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place.
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He has been described as a monk or as a "strannik", though he held no official position in the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively legally known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches, in full communion with other Eastern Orthodox patriarchates.
After traveling to St. Petersburg, either in 1903 or the winter of 1904-5, Rasputin captivated some church and social leaders.
In late 1906, Rasputin began acting as a healer for the Tsar and his wife Alexandra's son Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia and was Nicholas' only heir.
Haemophilia, also spelled hemophilia, is a mostly inherited genetic disorder that impairs the body's ability to make blood clots, a process needed to stop bleeding.
At court, he was a divisive figure, seen by some Russians as a mystic, visionary, and prophet, and by others as a religious charlatan.
In religion, a prophet is an individual who has claimed to have been contacted by a divine being, specifically a god or goddess, and to speak for them, serving as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural source to other people.
A charlatan is a person practising quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception.
The high point of Rasputin's power was in 1915, when Nicholas II left St Petersburg to oversee Russian armies fighting World War I, increasing both Alexandra and Rasputin's influence.
World War I, also known as the First World War, or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918.
In a religious context, sin is the act of violating God's will by transgressing his commandments.
As Russian defeats in the war mounted, however, both Rasputin and Alexandra became increasingly unpopular.
In the early morning of 30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1916, Rasputin was assassinated by a group of conservative noblemen who opposed his influence over Alexandra and the Tsar.
Some writers have suggested that Rasputin helped to discredit the tsarist government, and thus helped to precipitate the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty.
The House of Romanov was the second dynasty to rule Russia, after the House of Rurik, reigning from 1613 until the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on March 15, 1917, as a result of the February Revolution.
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family, usually in the context of a feudal or monarchical system but sometimes also appearing in elective republics.
The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the eventual rise of the Soviet Union.
Very little about Rasputin's life and influence is certain, however, as accounts have often been based on hearsay, rumor, and legend.