Grigori Rasputin

Grigori Rasputin (1869-1916) was, depending on your point of view, a venerated holy man or a meddling monk. Born in Siberia, Rasputin was a leading figure in early 20th-century Russian society, despite never holding a formal position in the Orthodox Church. He managed to make his way into the inner circle of Tsar Nicholas Romanov II, partly based on his presumed healing abilities with Prince Alexei’s haemophilia. Some in the royal household considered him a visionary and prophetic mystical figure, while others thought him nothing more than a liar and conman. Rasputin was eventually assassinated via a gunshot wound to the head by people objecting to his government influence. Some six decades on, his life was immortalized in a completely different way – as a bouncy disco single by West Indian group Boney M, released in 1978. Sample chorus lyrics: “Ra-ra-Rasputi, Russia's greatest love machine.” Legendary, even beyond the grave.

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