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Who Killed Rasputin? Was it a MI6 Conspiracy?


John Simkin
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For over a hundred years we have thought that we knew exactly who killed Rasputin. When Prince Yusupov arrived in the USA after the Russian Revolution he boasted that he had killed Rasputin and in 1932 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer brought out a film Rasputin and the Empress. In the film, the character, Prince Paul Chegodieff, was clearly based on Yusupov. He became very angry when Chedodieff's wife is shown being seduced by Rasputin. The Yusupovs sued MGM and in 1934, the Yusupovs were awarded £25,000 damages. The disclaimer which now appears at the end of every American film, "The preceding was a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual people or events is entirely coincidental" first appeared as a result of the legal precedent set by the Yusupov case.

In his memoirs, Lost Splendor, published in 1953, Yusupov described in detail how he murdered Gregory Rasputin:

I looked at my victim with dread, as he stood before me, quiet and trusting. What had become of his second-sight? What good did his gift of foretelling the future do him? Of what use was his faculty for reading the thoughts of others, if he was blind to the dreadful trap that was laid for him? It seemed as though fate had clouded his mind. But suddenly, in a lightening flash of memory, I seemed to recall every stage of Rasputin's infamous life. My qualms of conscience disappeared, making room for a firm determination to complete my task.

"Gregory Yefimovich," I said, "you'd better look at the crucifix and say a prayer." Rasputin cast a surprised, almost frightened glance at me. I read in it an expression which I had never known him to have: it was at once gentle and submissive. He came quite close to me and looked me full in the face.

I realized that the hour had come. "O Lord," I prayed, "give me the strength to finish it." Rasputin stood before me motionless, his head bent and his eyes on the crucifix. I slowly raised the crucifix. I slowly raised the revolver. Where should I aim, at the temple or at the heart? A shudder swept over me; my arm grew rigid, I aimed at his heart and pulled the trigger. Rasputin gave a wild scream and crumpled up on the bearskin. For a moment I was appalled to discover how easy it was to kill a man. A flick of a finger and what had been a living, breathing man only a second before, now lay on the floor like a broken doll.

On hearing the shot my friends rushed in. Rasputin lay on his back. His features twitched in nervous spasms; his hands were clenched, his eyes closed. A bloodstain was spreading on his silk blouse. A few minutes later all movement ceased. We bent over his body to examine it. The doctor declared that the bullet had struck him in the region of the heart. There was no possibility of doubt: Rasputin was dead. We turned off the light and went up to my room, after locking the basement door.

Our hearts were full of hope, for we were convinced that what had just taken place would save Russia and the dynasty from ruin and dishonour. As we talked I was suddenly filled with a vague misgiving; an irresistible impulse forced me to go down to the basement.

Rasputin lay exactly where we had left him. I felt his pulse: not a beat, he was dead. All of a sudden, I saw the left eye open. A few seconds later his right eyelid began to quiver, then opened. I then saw both eyes - the green eyes of a viper - staring at me with an expression of diabolical hatred. The blood ran cold in my veins. My muscles turned to stone.

Then a terrible thing happened: with a sudden violent effort Rasputin leapt to his feet, foaming at the mouth. A wild roar echoed through the vaulted rooms, and his hands convulsively thrashed the air. He rushed at me, trying to get at my throat, and sank his fingers into my shoulder like steel claws. His eyes were bursting from their sockets. By a superhuman effort I succeeded in freeing myself from his grasp.

"Quick, quick, come down!" I cried, "He's still alive." He was crawling on hands and knees, grasping and roaring like a wounded animal. He gave a desperate leap and managed to reach the secret door which led into the courtyard. Knowing that the door was locked, I waited on the landing above grasping my rubber club. To my horror I saw the door open and Rasputin disappear. Purishkevich sprang after him. Two shots echoed through the night. I heard a third shot, then a fourth. I saw Rasputin totter and fall beside a heap of snow.

This passage resulted in Rasputin's daughter Maria taking Prince Yusupov to a Paris court for damages of $800,000. The French court ruled that it had no jurisdiction over a political killing that took place in Russia.

However, earlier this year, Michael Smith, the author of Six: A History of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service argued that Rasputin was assassinated by MI6 and that one of their agents, Oswald Rayner, was the man who killed him. This account is supported by Richard Cullen's book, Rasputin: The role of Britain's Secret Service in his Torture and Murder (2010). What is really interesting is that Oswald Rayner was the man who was the ghost-writer of Yusupov's memoirs, Lost Splendor.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSrasputin.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSyusupov.htm

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Have you read the book 'The Rasputin Files?' As I recall, it was written by an American and a Russian. The Russian claimed to have access to all the Cheka files related to Rasputin.

As I recall, (it has been years since I read it) the Prince and his buddies did kill the mad monk, but most of the drama described by Yusopov, like the poisoned cakes, didn't happen. The authors claim that Rasputin didn't eat sweets, so the poison just sat on the plate.

Yusopov apparently supported himself for the rest of his life by telling his "How I killed Rasputin" stories again and again.

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What would the motive have been, did they supposedly think that by getting rid of him they could preserve the Russian monarchy?

Rasputin favoured a peace-deal with Germany. As he had a lot of influence over the Russian Royal Family it was feared that Nicholas II would pull Russia out of the war. Therefore, MI6 had a good motive for wanting Rasputin dead.

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Interesting. A year later the Bolchevics with a slogan of bread and peace took power and brought the great war to an end.

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Interesting. A year later the Bolchevics with a slogan of bread and peace took power and brought the great war to an end.

MI6 was fully aware that the people of Russia were close to revolution in 1916. They thought the best way of dealing with the situation was to support the government of Tsar Nicholas II. In fact, they would have been better supporting reformers like Alexander Kerensky who would have kept Russia in the war.

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He was a Menshevic leader. The last struggle in the Duma was between the Bolchevics and the Menshevics. wiki: ''Trotsky left the Mensheviks in September 1904 (rex 1905) over their insistence on an alliance with Russian liberals and their opposition to a reconciliation with Lenin ...'' . It strikes me that something led to a flawed analysis by MI6. The disillusionment with Kerensky after the '17 feb rev was rapid particularly in the army who ended up with the Bolchevics in the oct rev..

edit add :Menshevic : minority, Bolchevic : majority

Edited by John Dolva
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Have you read the book 'The Rasputin Files?' As I recall, it was written by an American and a Russian. The Russian claimed to have access to all the Cheka files related to Rasputin.

As I recall, (it has been years since I read it) the Prince and his buddies did kill the mad monk, but most of the drama described by Yusopov, like the poisoned cakes, didn't happen. The authors claim that Rasputin didn't eat sweets, so the poison just sat on the plate.

Yusopov apparently supported himself for the rest of his life by telling his "How I killed Rasputin" stories again and again.

No, I have not read this book but I have ordered the books by Michael Smith (Six: A History of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service) and Richard Cullen (Rasputin: The role of Britain's Secret Service in his Torture and Murder).

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Have you read the book 'The Rasputin Files?' As I recall, it was written by an American and a Russian. The Russian claimed to have access to all the Cheka files related to Rasputin.

As I recall, (it has been years since I read it) the Prince and his buddies did kill the mad monk, but most of the drama described by Yusopov, like the poisoned cakes, didn't happen. The authors claim that Rasputin didn't eat sweets, so the poison just sat on the plate.

Yusopov apparently supported himself for the rest of his life by telling his "How I killed Rasputin" stories again and again.

I have now read Richard Cullen's Rasputin: The role of Britain's Secret Service in his Torture and Murder (2010). He is a former British police detective who has been given access to Russian files on the case, including statements made to the police in the original investigation and the original autopsy report and photographs. Cullen was also given the official report of the investigation carried out by the Russian government in 1993.

First let me summarize what we know from the original eyewitness accounts and relevant documents produced at the time.

On 21st November 1916, Vladimir Purishkevich, the leader of the monarchists in the Duma, wrote to Prince Yusupov: "I'm terribly busy working on a plan to eliminate Rasputin. That is simply essential now, since otherwise everything will be finished... You too must take part in it. Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov knows all about it and is helping. It will take place in the middle of December, when Dmitri comes back... Not a word to anyone about what I've written." Yusupov replied: "Many thanks for your mad letter. I could not understand half of it, but I can see that you are preparing for some wild action.... My chief objection is that you have decided upon everything without consulting me... I can see by your letter that you are wildly enthusiastic, and ready to climb up walls... Don't you dare do anything without me, or I shall not come at all!"

Eventually, Yusupov, Vladimir Purishkevich, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov, Dr. Stanislaus de Lazovert and Lieutenant Sergei Mikhailovich Sukhotin, an officer in the Preobrazhensky Regiment, developed a conspiracy to kill Grigory Rasputin. Yusupov later admitted in Lost Splendor (1953) that on 29th December, 1916, Rasputin was invited to his home: "The bell rang, announcing the arrival of Dmitrii Pavlovich Romanov and my other friends. I showed them into the dining room and they stood for a little while, silently examining the spot where Rasputin was to meet his end. I took from the ebony cabinet a box containing the poison and laid it on the table. Dr Lazovert put on rubber gloves and ground the cyanide of potassium crystals to powder. Then, lifting the top of each cake, he sprinkled the inside with a dose of poison, which, according to him, was sufficient to kill several men instantly. There was an impressive silence. We all followed the doctor's movements with emotion. There remained the glasses into which cyanide was to be poured. It was decided to do this at the last moment so that the poison should not evaporate and lose its potency. We had to give the impression of having just finished supper for I had warned Rasputin that when we had guests we took our meals in the basement and that I sometimes stayed there alone to read or work while my friends went upstairs to smoke in my study."

Vladimir Purishkevich supported this story in his book, The Murder of Rusputin (1918): "We sat down at the round tea table and Yusupov invited us to drink a glass of tea and to try the cakes before they had been doctored. The quarter of an hour which we spent at the table seemed like an eternity to me.... Once we finished our tea, we tried to give the table the appearance of having been suddenly left by a large group frightened by the arrival of an unexpected guest. We poured a little tea into each of the cups, left bits of cake and pirozhki on the plates, and scattered some crumbs among several of the crumpled table napkins.... Once we had given the table the necessary appearance, we got to work on the two plates of petits fours. Yusupov gave Dr Lazovert several pieces of the potassium cyanide and he put on the gloves which Yusupov had procured and began to grate poison into a plate with a knife. Then picking out all the cakes with pink cream (there were only two varieties, pink and chocolate), he lifted off the top halves and put a good quantity of poison in each one, and then replaced the tops to make them look right. When the pink cakes were ready, we placed them on the plates with the brown chocolate ones. Then, we cut up two of the pink ones and, making them look as if they had been bitten into, we put these on different plates around the table."

Yusupov added: "It was agreed that when I went to fetch Rasputin, Dmitrii, Purishkevich and Sukhotin would go upstairs and play the gramophone, choosing lively tunes. I wanted to keep Rasputin in a good humour and remove any distrust that might be lurking in his mind." Stanislaus de Lazovert now went to fetch Rasputin in the car. "At midnight the associates of the Prince concealed themselves while I entered the car and drove to the home of the monk. He admitted me in person. Rasputin was in a gay mood. We drove rapidly to the home of the Prince and descended to the library, lighted only by a blazing log in the huge chimney-place. A small table was spread with cakes and rare wines - three kinds of the wine were poisoned and so were the cakes. The monk threw himself into a chair, his humour expanding with the warmth of the room. He told of his successes, his plots, of the imminent success of the German arms and that the Kaiser would soon be seen in Petrograd. At a proper moment he was offered the wine and the cakes. He drank the wine and devoured the cakes. Hours slipped by, but there was no sign that the poison had taken effect. The monk was even merrier than before. We were seized with an insane dread that this man was inviolable, that he was superhuman, that he couldn't be killed. It was a frightful sensation. He glared at us with his black, black eyes as though he read our minds and would fool us."

Vladimir Purishkevich later recalled that Yusupov joined them upstairs and exclaimed: "It is impossible. Just imagine, he drank two glasses filled with poison, ate several pink cakes and, as you can see, nothing has happened, absolutely nothing, and that was at least fifteen minutes ago! I cannot think what we can do... He is now sitting gloomily on the divan and the only effect that I can see of the poison is that he is constantly belching and that he dribbles a bit. Gentlemen, what do you advise that I do?" Eventually it was decided that Yusupov should go down and shoot Rasputin.

According to Yusupov's account: "Rasputin stood before me motionless, his head bent and his eyes on the crucifix. I slowly raised the crucifix. I slowly raised the revolver. Where should I aim, at the temple or at the heart? A shudder swept over me; my arm grew rigid, I aimed at his heart and pulled the trigger. Rasputin gave a wild scream and crumpled up on the bearskin. For a moment I was appalled to discover how easy it was to kill a man. A flick of a finger and what had been a living, breathing man only a second before, now lay on the floor like a broken doll."

Stanislaus de Lazovert agrees with this account except that he was uncertain who fired the shot: "With a frightful scream Rasputin whirled and fell, face down, on the floor. The others came bounding over to him and stood over his prostrate, writhing body. We left the room to let him die alone, and to plan for his removal and obliteration. Suddenly we heard a strange and unearthly sound behind the huge door that led into the library. The door was slowly pushed open, and there was Rasputin on his hands and knees, the bloody froth gushing from his mouth, his terrible eyes bulging from their sockets. With an amazing strength he sprang toward the door that led into the gardens, wrenched it open and passed out." Lazovert added that it was Vladimir Purishkevich who fired the next shot: "As he seemed to be disappearing in the darkness, Purishkevich, who had been standing by, reached over and picked up an American-made automatic revolver and fired two shots swiftly into his retreating figure. We heard him fall with a groan, and later when we approached the body he was very still and cold and - dead."

Yusupov later recalled: "On hearing the shot my friends rushed in. Rasputin lay on his back. His features twitched in nervous spasms; his hands were clenched, his eyes closed. A bloodstain was spreading on his silk blouse. A few minutes later all movement ceased. We bent over his body to examine it. The doctor declared that the bullet had struck him in the region of the heart. There was no possibility of doubt: Rasputin was dead. We turned off the light and went up to my room, after locking the basement door."

The Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov drove the men to Varshavsky Rail Terminal where they burned Rasputin's clothes. "It was very late and the grand duke evidently feared that great speed would attract the suspicion of the police." They also collected weights and chains and returned to Yuspov's home. At 4.50 a.m. Dimitri drove the men and Rasputin's body to Petrovskii Bridge. that crossed towards Krestovsky Island. According to Vladimir Purishkevich: "We dragged Rasputin's corpse into the grand duke's car." Purishkevich claimed he drove very slowly: "It was very late and the grand duke evidently feared that great speed would attract the suspicion of the police." Stanislaus de Lazovert takes up the story when they arrived at Petrovskii: "We bundled him up in a sheet and carried him to the river's edge. Ice had formed, but we broke it and threw him in. The next day search was made for Rasputin, but no trace was found."

Rasputin's body was found on 19th December by a river policeman who was walking on the ice. He noticed a fur coat trapped beneath, approximately 65 metres from the bridge. The ice was cut open and Rasputin's frozen body discovered. The post mortem was held the following day. Major-General Popel carried out the investigation of the murder. By this time Dr. Stanislaus de Lazovert and Lieutenant Sergei Mikhailovich Sukhotin had fled from the city. He did interview Yusupov, Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov and Vladimir Purishkevich, but he decided not to charge them with murder.

I will review the evidence that contradicts the statements made by Felix Yusupov, Vladimir Purishkevich and Dr. Stanislaus de Lazovert. The other two men involved, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov and Lieutenant Sergei Mikhailovich Sukhotin did not make any public statements on the case.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSyusupov.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSpurishkevich.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSpavlovich.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSsukhotinM.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSlazovert.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSrasputin.htm

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Guest Tom Scully

It was fascinating to find out, if it is indeed true, that the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov was a first cousin to your Queen Elizabeth's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Soon after the killing of Rasputin, three of the men involved in the conspiracy, Prince Felix Yusupov, Vladimir Purishkevich and Dr. Stanislaus de Lazovert, published accounts of what happened. The three accounts were virtually identical and it was assumed that this was an accurate account of what happened.

The first sign that their might have been other forces at work was the publication of Samuel Hoare's autobiography, soon after the Second World War. Hoare was a junior official at the British Embassy in Russia in 1916. In fact, he was really the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in Petrograd. Hoare admitted in his autobiography that Tsar Nicholas II suggested to the British ambassador, George Buchanan, that Osward Rayner, another official at the embassy, was involved in the plot to kill Rasputin. Hoare described the story as "incredible to the point of childishness". Rayner, like Hoare, was a member of the SIS. We also now know that Rayner had been involved in assassination plots against Lenin following the Russian Revolution.

Hoare, Rayner, Stephen Alley and John Scale made up the four members of the SIS unit in Petrograd. A recently released letter from Alley to Scale (who was in Romania at the time)written on 7th January 1917 adds to the possibility of SIS being involved in the killing of Rasputin: "Although matters have not proceeded entirely to plan, our objective has clearly been achieved. Reaction to the demise of Dark Forces (a codename for Rasputin) has been well received by all, although a few awkward questions have already been asked about wider involvement. Rayner is attending to loose ends and will no doubt brief you on your return."

In 1993 Rasputin's 1916 autopsy was released. Several details undermined the testimony of Prince Felix Yusupov, Vladimir Purishkevich and Dr. Stanislaus de Lazovert. For example, the autopsy discovered no cyanide in Rasputin's body. The three men also claimed that Yusupov and Purishkevich fired the shots at Rasputin. The first two wounds were consistent with Yusupov's pocket Browning and Purishkevich's Savage automatic. However, the autopsy showed that three different guns were used. What is more, the third shot, in the head (see below) was fired by a .455 Webley, the standard British issue side arm in the First World War. This is therefore the gun that Rayner, Alley and Scale would have carried.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRhoareS.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SSrayner.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SSalley.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SSscale.htm

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Its pretty interesting, but I know on Bill Still's Documentary: The Money Masters, he mentions the Bolshevik Revo. being basically a financier plot (as a main motivator of the revolution, in which Jacob Schiff was more than likely involved) and taking out the Czar was also more (or less) a revenge tactic for the Czar Alexander II backing of the U.S during the Civil War since it seems that Russia was without a central bank at the time (correct me if I am wrong). Once again we have the strong possibility of Intelligence Services offering to eliminate someone who may have very well been a threat to special interests. Brings to memory the death of Napoleon at the hands of the British as well.

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