Rasputin has achieved fame as an evil 'mad monk'.   A Google search throws up any number of websites describing his life, excesses and death.   Some of them are, quite frankly, more disgusting than Rasputin was!


Many of the stories about Rasputin, however, come from pamphlets and rumours AFTER the February Revolution, when the revolutionaries were trying to create the impression of the old monarchy as a time of evil and corruption, and to destroy the old ideas of the Tsar as a ruler from God.


There is little serious historical writing about the effect Rasputin had on the events, although one army instructor said that Rasputin had broken the soldiers' loyalty to the Tsar, and Kerensky (head of the provisional government) said that 'without Rasputin, there would have been no Lenin'.   Yet for a time, while Nicholas was away fighting with the army, Rasputin and the Tsarina essentially ran the government of Russia.


Recently, the Russian archivist  Edvard Radzinsky has tried to re-interpret Rasputin, based on secret files, supposedly compiled by the provisional government in 1917, and recently discovered in Paris by a Russian cellist.   Whether you believe any of it is up to you!


Source A

A cartoon of Rasputin with the Tsar and the Tsarina, supposedly drawn in 1916.

The words in Russian mean: 'the Russian Royal Family'.



You can see an example of typical webpages on Rasputin at:

Rah, Rah Rasputin 

The Murder of Rasputin

- fun, but of no use to a serious historian.


More thoughtful sites can be found at:

Spartacus - especially the sources,

Who's Who: Grigory Rasputin

You only need to read one of them -  all are more about Rasputin than his influence on events.


To assess the impact of Rasputin, you will need to read:

Rasputin's influence: a passage from Orlando Figes great book: A People's Tragedy.


And if you want to investigate Radzinsky's re-interpretation:

Rasputin myth debunked

Task 1

What message was intended by the painter of Source A?



Task 2

How reliable is Source A to an historian of the Russian revolution?



Task 3

How useful is Source A to an historian of the Russian revolution?



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