Perhaps no one is more mysterious and mythic than Grigori Rasputin.
Born in an obscure Siberian peasant village in 1869, religious conversion and a career as a traveling saint and healer took Rasputin to the Russian royal court, where he became their closest confidant, chief adviser and one of the most powerful men in the empire.
But there was something fascinating and repulsive about a man as mysterious as Rasputin, even in his lifetime. As a result, the domestic and foreign media used him as a weapon to push their own agenda, leading to his becoming Russia’s most hated man and his assassination in 1916. Fictions have become so commonplace that they are still believed a century later.
This one we can’t discredit entirely, but there are parts of it that we certainly can.
The British were eager to prevent the crumbling Russian Empire from pulling out of the war and leaving them high and dry. They saw Rasputin as a threat due to his calls for belief in him, his influence over the royals, and the ill-feeling he distilled in the Russian population, which then transferred to the Emperor by proxy.
Rumor has it the British intelligence agency advised on, and even participated in, the murder of Rasputin, recognizing he wouldn’t be missed. And with Rasputin out of the picture, any doubt about the war would be gone from Nicholas’s mind, and his rule (and therefore Russia’s stability in the war) would be strengthened. One thing we can’t disprove is them advising on it and possibly encouraging it. Still, considering the amateurish, botched assassination itself, there is no way the British intelligence agency played an active part in it.