Date of Award
Master of Arts in History
The influence of Rasputin upon the Emperor and Empress of Russia is generally credited to occult sourtes. Hypnotic suggestion and drugs are usually stressed.
Of the autobiographical materials left to us, most are untrustworthy. Either the authors seek to defend themselves for their personal involvement with Rasputin, or they suffered reverses at his hands, collecting every scandal and bit of heresay at their disposal.
Just as bad are most biographies that deal with this subject. Merely paraphrasing autobiographical material, they rely more on fertile imagination, and their journalistic style stresses the dramatic and scandalous.
This thesis attempts to put Rasputin's influence upon the sovereigns into correct perspective. In order to do so, biographical material stressing letters, diaries, and official memorabilia were utilized to probe events and circumstances in the lives of Nicholas and Alexandra. Witnesses were limited to those who had the closest associations with the imperial couple for long periods of time and whom researchers hold in high regard. The writer utilized a reading knowledge of French and Russian, as considerable portions of materials needed for this study have not yet been translated into English.
Whether or not Rasputin had magic powers is not worth discussing. His influence with the imperial couple was the direct result of circumstances which would have produced any number of ''Rasputins." In fact, one thing seldom stressed by those who deal with this topic is that Rasputin had predecessors and already established contenders who no doubt would have gained prominence after his assassination, had not the revolution interfered.
What enabled Rasputin to gain the confidence of the imperial couple was not simply his ability to give some measure of relief to their dying son. He appeared to them as that distant and noble soul of the Russian peasant which they sincerely believed to be the true soul of Russia.
Alexandra believed that Rasputin was God's messenger to her and her husband. Because she had been estranged early from the social and political life in the capital, Alexandra felt a stranger in a nation over which she was Empress. In time Rasputin was one of the very few to win her complete confidence in that lonely existence. With Nicholas as Commander-in-Chief at the front, Alexandra won his approval as regent in charge of internal affairs of the nation. The rest of the story fell simply into place. Rasputin spoke; she had authority and acted. There is no evidence of the use of hypnosis or drugs. Alexandra truly believed that God had sent a messenger to save Russia and the throne.
Colozzi, John Joseph, "The Influence of Rasputin on Russian Imperial Court" (1965). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 1776.