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The Great War
Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Timeline Maps & Battles The Shaping of the 21st Century Historians
Historians OverviewRobert K. Massie

Rasputin - Imperial Faith Healer
Robert K. Massie
"Alexis, the fifth child, the only son of Nicholas II and Alexandra, had hemophilia that came from his grandmother, Queen Victoria.

"When he was in great pain, his mother was in the state of mind, which any mother would be when her child is suffering. Nicholas brought in for his son, the best doctors in Russia and Europe. They couldn't do anything. And, then, there appeared this strange man from Siberia, calling himself Rasputin, and wearing the black robes of a holy man, of a monk.

"Rasputin wasn't a man of the church, but he pretended to be.

"And by using his very powerful eyes – which had a hypnotic effect on not just this little boy, but on many people – and his voice, and his enormous self-confidence, his ability to project well-being, he was able to alleviate this child's pain and to actually slow the bleeding by decreasing blood pressure, and so forth. For this reason, Alexandra, the Empress, was very soon enormously attached to Rasputin – not in a sexual way, but as a mother grateful for someone who is helping her son. Because this little boy, Alexis, the Tsarevich, was the crown prince, the heir to the throne, they didn't tell the Russian people. They didn't even tell the sort of intelligentsia, the aristocracy; they kept it a secret.

"Rasputin was a man of two faces: he had this holy man persona; he is also enormously dissolute.

"He drank more than anybody else has ever drunk, and he was a great womanizer. He was very attractive to women who felt that he had special powers. St. Petersburg and the country knew about the dissolute side; they didn't know about the healing side. They saw this dissolute fraud going to the palace and seeing the Empress. This inevitably led to stories about the relationship between the two, which fed the belief that the monarchy was corrupt, that the Tsar was being cuckolded, that the whole thing was just sort of a cesspool of ineptitude and corruption. That was Rasputin's contribution. But at the root of what he was doing, was this hereditary disease hemophilia."

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