Rasputin, Grigori

[ (ras-pyooht-n) ]

A Russian monk of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Before and during World War I, Rasputin gained great influence over both Nicholas II, the czar of Russia, and his German-born wife, who considered him a miraculous healer. The czar's only son suffered from hemophilia, a blood disorder, and Rasputin seemed to be the only person who could alleviate the disease. When Rasputin told Nicholas how Russia should be ruled and whom Nicholas should choose as government officials, the czar followed his advice carefully. Jealous Russian noblemen murdered Rasputin in 1916, but his direction of the czar's policies was to prove disastrous after his death: Czar Nicholas was overthrown in 1917 and executed in 1918.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.