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The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1916-1920, January 07, 1917, Section 5 Special Feature Supplement, Image 55

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Gregory Rasputin, the
Latest and Strangest
of the Fortune Tellers,
Fanatics and Charla
tans Who Have Swayed
the Destinies of the
Russian Empire at
Home and Abroad Dur
ing the Reign of Nich
olas II.
KV sensation has come from
Itussla has long been fur
nishing new sensations to the world,
weird happenings In mcduevnl set
tings, grotesque and grim tragedies.
While the rest of the world kept nd
Tanclng Russia stood still. While tho
Russian people, yearning for light and
liberty, have prodyced works which
constitute the pride of Russia, the
Russian autocracy, even though It had
a constitution and parliament forced
upon it, has clung to medievalism
with all Its plcturesqucness, Its qualnt
tess, Its cruelties and Its horrors.
For the third tlmo in the last few
rears the story of the death of Ras
putin has reached America. This time
It is apparently true.
The story of Gregory Rasputin is
tinlque even among the strange stories
f the monks, mystics and fortune
tellers who surrounded the Czars of
Russia and Influenced their decisions
In matters of vital Importance to the
Russian people.
To the average Intelligent American
reader It may be Inconceivable that a
ereat empire like Russia, 'a people that
has Riven to the world great men and
women In literature, In art, in sclcncu
and In music, that has brought forth
some of the noblest and bruvest
martyrs for freedom, should bo ruled
In this age through tho Influence of
tharlatans, fortune tellers, weather
prophets, mad monks and Illiterate
peasants. But when it Is recalled that
only a few years ago the mcdlan-al
fi'ual murder myth was staged In tho
ancient city of Kiev In the form of tho
WIN affair, when It Is recalled that
wly a few years ago pogroms wore
WKamzed in many cities and towns In
ItUfHia mi the s:iini dnv. It ceases to
1 surprising that the ruler of '.ho
Umpire- should be Influenced
'nj Raided by oil sorts of "saints" and
prophets, charlatans and madmen,
dealers and soothsayers, who appeal
tu him upon religious grounds.
Those who know anything nt nil
alout Itussla to-day are a ware of tho
'act that some of these powers behlrd
tie throne have made and unmade
Members of the Rurlnn Cabinet and
I"'a'ls f the Holy Synod, and havo
"allied the downfall of premiers.
The list soothsayers und fortune
tellers and healers who havo directed
' a great extent tho homo policies of
'ho Russian Umpire nnd even lntlu
tnced the courso of Russia's attitude
'oward foreign nffalrs during tho
feign of Nicholas II. Is long Indeed.
Tho most conspicuous among these
ere Klopov, nn Insignificant function
ary whom the Czar entrusted with spe
1 Investigations; Dcmchlnsky, tho
father prophet, who was discredited
5 dentists and branded as a charla-
JANUARY 7. 1917.
tan: Ukhtomsky-Aslatt-ky, who fired
the Czar's Imagination with Ideas of
his great historical mission: Pero
Philippe, the hairdresser of Marseilles,
spiritualist and healer; a girl named
Gulatzky, who was tho Czar's favorite
ndviser for a time; Bezobrnzov, who
was raised from titter obscurity and
mado Secretary of State; Father John
of Cronstndt, the mad monk Illodor
and Gregory Rasputin.
The strangest of them all was un
doubtedly Philippe, the barber of Mar
seilles, who used to call for the Czar
the spirits of his ancestors and ask ;
their advice concerning family mat
ters and affairs of state. As long as
he remained In the palace of the Czar
Thllippo was the most powerful man
In Russia, and his Influence In nffalrs
of the gravest Importance was greater
than that of the Premier or other
members cf the Cabinet. Without his
approval nothing was dono by the
nnf ThlMnn prpn' tnn bold in his
deceptions one day nnd he was re-
placed by the Gu'ntzky girl. During
the Russo-Japanese war she predicted
that Russia would meet with defeat i
is the Czar himself went to the
Th. rv.ir was on the nolnt of 1
taking the girl's advice, but Count
Wltte, Kuropatkln nnd Pobyedonost
seff dissuaded him with great dllllculty
and he remained at home.
Bezobrnzov and Alexeyev, the latter
'gestlon, were practically responsible !
for the outbreak of tho war between .
Russia and Japan, j
Father John of Cronstndt appeared
upon the scene nt a time when Intrigues I
were helntr engineered for the purpose :
of causing the Czar to dlvorco Alexan-
dra Feodorovna because she had
brought him no male heir to the Rus
sian throne. Father John told the
Car of n newly discovered saint in the
de.ert of Sarov and suggested n royal
procession to the desert. The head of
the Synod approved tho suggestion nnd
a royal procei-slon was organized to
visit the testing place or St. serapntm.
Suddenly, after a few years of se
crecy as to tho real Influences control
ling the Czar, tho name of Illodor, the
"Mad Monk," was mentioned.
This young monk became notorious
for his daring harangues against tho
progressive elements In Russia, against
the revolutionists and the Jews, whom
he denounced with vitriolic venom,
ca'.ling upon the populace to start ma
meres. Stories of his attacks upon
high dignitaries of the State and tho
Church reached thlu country at tho
He defied the Holy Pynod nnd ip
no red the commands of the Procura-
tor; he travelled about Russia preach
ing arrogantly against the Church, nnd
nt the same time Incited the mob to
riots and to massacres. Liberal Rus
sia was puzzled. No one could under
stand why this firebrand was per
mitted to carry on his propaganda of i
Victor Obnlnsky, a prominent mem-1
ber of the first Duma, one of tho ablest ;
men In tho Constitutional Democratic
party, In his Important book, entitled
"The New Order In Russia," published I
in Moscow In 1909, said this of Illodor;
"Tho events of 1905 did not separate i
the State from tho CJiurch. In the
practical twentieth century life did not
bring forth In Russia any clergy who
were not afraid of Independent views,
nnd the types of Nikon and Philippe 1
havo degenerated Into the Illodors and
the Vostorgovs.
"After the dispersion of the first
Duma the Synod prohibited tho clergy
from touching In their sermons upon
any question relating to the political t
condition of the country. Tho circular
of the Synod on this subject stated
that In case the people desired to hear
from their priest as to whether the
conuttions oi too peasants wuum im
ameliorated, the priests should arrange
private discussions, pacifying tho pop
ulatlon, telling tho peasants that the
Czar understood tho needs of the peas
antry and would Improve their condi
tion before long. The manifesto an
nouncing the dispersion of the Duma
was to be read with an appropriate
"Nevertheless, the churches were
turned into political arenas. Bishop
Nazary of Nizhni Novgorod ordered
the tolling of tho bells In nil the
churches of that city on tho day tho
Duma was closed, and sermons were
delivered In which the Jews were at- i whero a massacre of. Jews occurred
tacked. In tho town of Kllya, Govern- I Immediately after his sermon on Bep
ment of Bessarabia, the priest Cera-1 tember 14, 1907."
fihonko in his sermon declared that i when Illodor commenced to attack
the JewB organized the revolution, j
lure organizing the assassinations and
nro pinnning to muraer mo neui uu-1
slun Doputles. The Union M the Renl
Russlans will adopt harsh measures
and will destroy tho Jewish Govern
ment.' "Another notorious priest, the
founder of a sect, lectured In St, Peters,
burg on '.The Jows in general n,nd po
groms in particular.' In that lecture
he made the point that tho Jews were
making pogroms against themselves
nnd lie Baw In such progroms tho
finger of God, who punished the Jowa
for their sins against the Government,
"But the record of fanaticism and
bigotry was broken by tho notorious
Illodor, the Idol of the .lanctimonlous
salom of Bt. Petersburg, who was
axd THE BABY VERA. Courtly cf Miltri Wkfy.
feared by the governors nnd police in
spectors of the regions in which this
turbulent Instigator of massacres ap
peared. Finally the archbishops them
selves began to nsk for the removal
of tho fanatic, but In vain, Instead,
Illodor was placed In tho very home
of the man who complained against
him, Anthony of Volhynla. Then
Illodor went to Rostov on tho Don,
the dlgnlturles of the Church who en
deavored to Interfere with his propa-
ganda the only bishop who upheld him
wna Germogcn, another' reactionary
who also becamo notorious In connec
tlon with pogrom propaganda. No ono
understood how tho young monk In
the face of such powerful opposition
was received by tho Czar. The press
of Russia devoted much space to Illo
dor's weird, eccentric talk, but no ono
knew at that tlmo that Gregory Ras
putin, the Illiterate Siberian peasant,
the new favorito of the Czar, was be
hind Illodor.
Rasputin und Illodor became Inti
mate friends. Rasputin had hoped to
make his influence over the Czar
permanent through his relations wtth
the "Mad Monk." He was Illiterate
and he wanted some one who could
write out what he regarded as his re
ligious philosophy of life. Ho also
wanted Iliodor's assistance In his plans
to become the official father confessor
to tho Czar,
For some time Rasputin and Illodor
were close friends. Through Rasputin's
efforts tho "Mad Monk" was received
in audience by tho Czar and by the
Empress. Ho met them only once, for
a brief time, and they spoke to him
mainly about Rasputin.
The struggle for power and the de
slro to replace Rasputin In the favor of
tho Czar turned Illodor into Rasputin's
arch enemy. Knowing of a number of
Rasputin's escapades, Illodor resolved
to expose the "mint" Rasputin in
tho hope that he would be called to
take his place as spiritual adviser to
the Czar.
But Rasputin was the abler and the
cleverer of the two, and notwithstand
ing tho assistance of Bishop Ger
mogen Illodor failed in his efforts to
fhake the confidence of the Czar and
the Czarina la Rasputin. Illodor was
thrown Into prison. He escaped from
Russia on the day of the outbreak
of the war, clad as a' woman, and thus
saved himself from the hand of Ras
putin " which" was 'stretching ' out to
crush him completely,
. Gregory Rasputin, who reigned In
the ixalace of tho Czar about thirteen
years, was a mnn of powerful phys
ique, of extraordinary will power,
cunning and daring. All his acts, how
ever Immoral, he defended from a re
ligious point of view.
In his youth ho wns known as a
drunkard. He hnd a criminal record
nnd served n term in Jail many years
ago. After that he left his home and
disappeared for n long time. He come
back "reformed."
He said that religion had changed
his life. Ho became a pilgrim. He
walked through various parts of the
Russian empire begging for bread and
for shelter.
Tho story of the reformed Siberian
peasant spread through Russia and
finally reached the Czar through some
of the ladles of the court who had met
him. Rasputin was Invited to the pal
ace. Ills quaint religious viewpoints
made n profound Impression upon tho
Czar and the Cznrlna and his Influence
commenced little by little to dominate
the Russian empire.
M. Paul Mllukov, the leader of the
Constitutional Democratic party in the
Duma, mado the following statement
several years ago from the tribunal of
the Duma:
"Gregory Raspttttn, ths 'new one,' is
btpyrigM, HIT. by fne Sun Printing suit
PubHiftlnp itatocfatton.
the same man who recommends
Premiers and removes Procurators of
the Synod, who helped illodor ngnlnfit
the Synod nnd the Synod against Illo
dor, and the man who Is helped by
Rasputin always wins."
One of the most characteristic in
stances hhowing to what extent tho
Czar was influenced by this corrupt
and Illiterate pensant "saint" occurred
In connection with the deoth of Count
Leo Tolstoy and the resolution of tho
church on that occasion. Tho Czar
mado public tho resolution prepared
for him, praying God to be merciful
to tho Chrlstaln Just departed. The
reactionary press of Russia song tho
Czar's praises, hut somehow the Czar
was not pleased with the order Issued
by the Holy Synod forbidding tho tra
ditional religious service at the Tolstoy
Ho was not quite sure that the
rhti'ch haJ ih:-mi the light -ouiso In
tho matter. Instead of consulting the
foremost dig. iMtie.s o' the church or
the synod, he sent for his friend Ras
putin, who was In Siberia at the tlmo
In his homo village.
Gregory Rasputin, who not only
preached immorality but who was at-
tacked on several occasions by women I
ho had deceived, was summoned to
TsnrsUoe Kelo (n ndvlse the Czar with j
regard to lhe attitude of tho Russlon
Church toward the ex-communlcntlon
of Leo Tolstoy. . A fellow passenger of
Rasputin's In the Siberian train relates 1
tho following conversation which took
place whllo Rasputin was hastening to
tho Czar. I
"This Is not my first visit to Tsar
skoe Solo," said Rasputin. "It Is truo
the members of the court party do not i
like me. But I pay no nttentlon to1
them. I am supposed to visit .the man
nurse or tutor of tho Czarevitch, but l
I nm ushered Into the Czar's room.
"I drink tea with the Czar and Czar
Inn, and we always talk n great deal.
Tho Czar has now sent for mo tq dis
cuss whether tho priests have acted
properly In prohibiting n religious cere
mony nt the Tolstoy funeral. The
Cznr thinks it was foolish."
Later, when this passenger became
better acquainted with Rasputin, he
"Tell me, Is It true that you are do
ing all the nasty things wo hear about
you nnd rend In the newspapers?"
Rasputin smiled nnd said:
"About hnlf of it, of course, Is le,
but then we are nil human, wo are
only human." i
And he laughed again,
Tho nbleht ond at the same time the
most reactionary publicist In Russln,
M, Mentililkov, chnraclxilited Uiifputln
In the following account of his career,
By Some Acclaimed as
Saint, bv Others
Accused of Evil Liv
ing, the Mystery of
His Murder Supplies
a Fitting Climax to a
Career Begun in a
Peasant's Hut in Si
beria which was suppressed by the Russian
"I know Rasputin, and I can speak
nbout him from my own impressions.
Zazonoff, the Minister for Foreign Af
fairs, brought 'this 's-alntly old monk'
to me when ho was at tho height of
lis glory a few years ago. Tho 'old
monk" dined with me, and wo had a
long discussion about tho nffalrs. In
Russia In general and about himself
In particular.
"At first ho appeared to me as a
rather youthful peasant of about 40,
neatly dressed. Ills face wns that of
i drunkard and his restless oyes, his
low voice resembled those of a mon
astery servant or a psalmist. His
speech was abrupt nnd ho used at
times mysterious expressions.
"At tlrst I was surprised that such
a half savage peasant from Siberia
could not only find his way to St.
Petersburg but that ho could And a
welcome reception at the homes of tho
very highest society. After having
spoken to Rasputin I convinced my
self that ho knew how to produco an
impression. Ilo is a natural philoso
pher coming from tho depths, almost
Illiterate, but well learned In Scrip
ture, a man who ta'ktt about religion
like a gramophone record and endowed
with natural enthusiasm.
"Some of his sayings Impressed mo
for their originality nnd oven for
their depth. Thus the oracles of old
spoko In a ftato of delirium thero
was something absurdly wise In his
enigmatic words. Some of Rasputin's
Ideas seemed to me to bo near the stolo
and ascetic philosophy and bin char
acterizations of somo priests and high
dignitaries struck mo as very keen
and correct.
"Tho first Impression made upon
me wns a good one. I thought ho
wns a cunning peasant, but naturally
religious, cnpnblo of making people
wake from their lethargic sleep as
far as faith was concerned. But I
did not like so much his fancy boots
nnd tho fact that ho was going from
my houso to call nn a certain lady.
"'I should very much llko to re
main In your house,' ho said to me,
'but I havo been Invited to go there
nnd I must go.'
"I was nlso surprised that Rasputin
kissed ladles' hands on bidding them
good-by, A rather stinnge saint, I
thought, ono of those that occasion
ally make their appearance in fash
ionable drawing rooms. I had heard
some of my friends praising Rasputin,
but soon various strange stories about
Rasputin reached mo,
"Then Rasputin lost the confidence
(Continue! on .VfNth Pope.)

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