Useful Notes: Rasputin The Mad Monk
Russia's greatest love machine!
Grigoriy Yefimovich Rasputin
(1869-1916) was a Russian mystic and preacher. Born of peasant parentsnote
, he arrived in Saint Petersburg in the early 20th century, where he had some success in treating Tsarevich Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia. He managed to turn this, and the fascination in upper-class Russian circles with religious mysticism, healing, and sex, into becoming a close associate of the Tsar family and an important figure in pre-revolution Russia. Rasputin also never was an ordained cleric or monk in the Orthodox Church (and had quite a lot of enemies among those), his official status in Orthodox Christianity was that of a lay preacher. However, authors tend to forget that and call him a "mad monk", which was the source of this page's name.
Due to his many affairs and drunkenness (his personal faith required sin, in his case alcohol and sex, followed by repentance), he became a target of anti-Romanov and anti-Tsarist groups in Russia. He was murdered in 1916, ostensibly by Prince Felix Yusupov and a band of his cronies. Yusupov's story
(as embroidered and added to through the years) was that Rasputin was lured to a meeting with Yusupov where he was fed cakes and wine laced with cyanide; when that failed to kill him, he was beaten, shot, stabbed, and thrown into the Neva River, where he died of hypothermia after trying to claw through the ice. In reality, he was shot in the head with a .455 Webley which killed him instantly
. No cakes (he had a bad stomach and wouldn't have eaten them even if the cyanide could have survived the baking process), sipped a very small amount of wine, the first shots fired by Yusupov's trembling hand either missed or did not hit vital organs
, no beating, no freezing. Possibly came back to life as Alan Moore
for Rasputinian Death
. The frequent myths and interesting history around him has made him a frequent target for a Historical Villain Upgrade
or Beethoven Was an Alien Spy
, as well as a figure in a Conspiracy Theory
No relation to the current Russian President, Vladimir Putin
. Putin's grandfather changed his name from Rasputin to Putin to avoid attention. All descendants of Grigoriy Rasputin have different surnames, thus he is unrelated to any other Rasputin or Putin.
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Anime and Manga
- Like the equally evil Jack the Ripper, Mad Monk Rasputin has a bit role in the anime Soul Eater. In a dream sequence, no less!
- Master Of Mosquiton has him as an arguably Necessarily Evil mastermind trying to prevent the return to Earth of evil "Star-Gods".
- Dance in the Vampire Bund makes him into an alias of a power hungry Vampire Lord who's willing to lie, kill and steal. He's killed some 90 years after the Russian Revolution with the help of Anastasia, who he turned and made his play thing until she escaped him.
- In Drifters Rasputin shows up on the side of the Ends as one of the chief servants and advisers of the Black King. Oddly, this puts him on the same side as Anastasia Romanov, a character he is more often portrayed as being antagonisitic towards when they meet in other media.
- He is an antagonist (in service of an Eldritch Abomination) in Hellboy. He also used to work for the Nazis in order to bring Hellboy into the world and bring about its destruction (unfortunately for them, Hellboy materialized in the US, and received a very different education than what the Beast of the Apocalypse might be expected to have).
- He is an ancestor of Colossus in X-Men. An ancestor that is very eager to be reincarnated in one of his blood.
- When Karl Kesel homaged elements of Kamandi in Superboy he introduced a Ratsputin as the Evil Chancellor of Great Caesar.
- A sometimes-ally sometimes-rival of Corto Maltese is known as Rasputin (and looks a lot like the other one) -though he tends to feel insulted if you "mistake" him for the "other" one (it's not quite clear, but since he's active for quite some time after the historical one's death, they're probably two different people).
- Inspector Canardo: The main recurring villain is named Rasputin.
Film - Animated
Film - Live Action
- Played by Karel Roden in Hellboy.
- Hammer did a movie about him called Rasputin the Mad Monk, with Christopher Lee in the title role.
- Lee's own favourite screen Rasputin was Conrad Veidt, who played Rasputin in a 1932 German film. Veidt's performance was noted for being considerably understated in contrast to some others, and the film itself reads more like a documentary than a drama—Rasputin isn't portrayed as particularily demonic but as a sympathetic, if lumbering peasant.
- Tom Baker played a darkly charismatic Rasputin in the historical biopic Nicholas and Alexandra.
- Alan Rickman did a sympathetic portrayal of the man in the HBO original movie Rasputin. His portrayal argued Rasputin may actually have been a saint with legitimate supernatural powers derived from God and at the very least didn't deserve the crap piled on his memory.
- Portrayed more stereotypically as a raving, demonic maniac by Lionel Barrymore in the infamous Rasputin and the Empress (1932), opposite siblings John and Ethel. This movie's portrayal of certain surviving (and litigious) Romanovs led to the "Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental" disclaimer.
- Gert Fröbe played Rasputin in I Killed Rasputin, a 1967 French movie.
- The Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel Wages of Sin is set in pre-Revolution Russia and has Rasputin as a character. It's a historically-straight portrayal mostly, although his famous hard-to-kill-ness does turn out to be due to a time traveller trying to keep him alive.
- He gets far more hilarious in Faction Paradox. To start with, the Faction recruited him a few days before his death, took him to the Eleven-Day Empire, and replaced him with an exact duplicate. Then the Celestis came along, didn't realise the Faction had made the switch, and offered him their standard deal that includes resurrection. The duplicate had been briefed not to argue with any War-era powers it met, and so accepted the deal. By the time of the assassination attempt, the Great Houses noticed something was going on, assumed the Faction would try to take him to the Empire at the point of death, and so implanted a device that would replace the Faction duplicate with a Great House duplicate. House constructs are by default immune to poisoning. As such, when the poison failed, he was shot. Then the Celesti protocols resurrected him, producing a creature whose mind was struggling between Great Houses, Celesti, and Faction protocols which had to be shot repeatedly and beaten to death simply to get it to lie down long enough to be thrown ino the river, where it finally froze to death. As a result, none of the three powers involved like to talk about it and everyone in the War agreed to leave celebrities well alone. The real Rasputin, meanwhile, persuaded Anastasia (who was also a Faction recruit) to set up a rival state, then went mad and died under mysterious circumstances. Anastasia's Thirteen-Day Republic was shortly afterwards annihilated.
- A Cahill from the Tomas branch in The 39 Clues.
- A Night in the Lonesome October has Rastov the Mad Monk.
- The Last American Vampire has protagonist Henry, along with Nikola Tesla, involved in killing off Rasputin, who was just a bit much for humans to handle, being a vampire himself.
- He was the subject of an episode of The Crow: Stairway to Heaven.
- Leonard Nimoy played a Rasputin-like character in "The Choice", an episode of Mission: Impossible, indestructibility and all.
- When the topic of Rasputin's death was brought up on QI, Bill Bailey, inspired by the Boney M song's line about Rasputin's glowing eyes, put forth the theory that Rasputin was, in fact, a Terminator. Complete with him dragging himself along the panel like the end of the first film.
- Rasputin shows up among the army of wax droids in an episode of Red Dwarf, serving mainly as Emperor Caligula's lackey.
- Forever Knight. Rasputin is a vampire who gets executed on the orders of LaCroix the vampire so as to spark off the chaos of revolution.
- In the Angel episode "Why We Fight", after Angel tells the vampire Nostroyev he's never heard of him, Nostroyev lists various atrocities he's responsible for, closing with "I was Rasputin's lover!"
- Wait, Nostroyeve was the Russian Queen?!?!?!
- "Rasputin" by Boney M, which refers to him as "Russia's greatest love machine." It's been covered by a number of bands.
- "Rasputin" by Austrian/Polish band Kontrust seems to take a satirical look at his relationship with the Tsars.
- Rasputin serves as a spirit guide to the central character in the Mastodon Concept Album Crack the Skye.
- Funkadelic put a photograph of him on the back cover of their album One Nation Under a Groove with the caption "Rasputin raps" and a word balloon of him saying, "Ahhh - dese Funkadelic ist very good for America!"
- One Dilbert comic had the Pointy-Haired Boss hiring Rasputin, saying he had "charisma". He then proceeded to suffocate Asok with a Death Glare. After that, he tried to do the same to Wally, but Wally's powerful anti-charisma caused him to choke instead.
- Appeared in about a dozen books in the Old World of Darkness... and each of them told a different story with him as another type of supernatural. They are all true — Rasputin became a Wraith after death and possessed all the supernaturals he was featured as.
- Appears as the Big Bad of part 5 of Pathfinder's Reign of Winter adventure path. In the Pathfiner mythos, he is the estranged son of Baba Yaga, who abandoned him on Earth. His magic allowed him to communicate with his sister Elvanna on Golarion to conspire against Baba Yaga, kicking off the adventure path's plot. He also took the time to have an affair with the Tzarina and father Anastasia.
- While the man himself doesn't appear in Warhammer 40,000 (that we know of—there are several immortal humans still running around), the Dark Angels had to put down a rebellion called the Rasputin Uprisings.
- A Team Fortress 2 achievement for the Heavy references Rasputin. The Heavy needs to suffer several types of damage in a single life.
- Showed up as a Big Bad (though not THE Big Bad, since he basically shows up in the middle of the game) in Shadow Hearts 2: Covenant. Turns out, he's secretly a demon. Fortunately, you've got the help of a camera-wielding Princess Anastasia, and her magical, flying Fabergé Egg!
- He shows up as a Camp Gay fighter in the World Heroes series.
- He gets a mention in Assassins Creed II, as an agent of the Templars who stole the Staff of Eden from Czar Nicholas and thus precipitated the revolution that would follow. The Assassin order were the ones who killed him, though naturally, it took a while.
- A robot from the future made in the image of Rasputin shows up as an antagonistic Devil Summoner in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army (set years after his supposed death and in Japan no less).
- In both Persona 2 games, Rasputin appears as a Persona of Magician Arcana. He is weak to all of the physical elements but nulls all magical elementals in exchange.
- Razputin is the psychic prodigy star of Psychonauts, with no other real connection to his namesake. The name is probably a reference to Rasputin's supposed drowning given Raz's curse-induced Super Drowning Skills.
- Wizardry has Rattkin NPC named Ratsputin. Though he's a ninja, not monk — name is due to mice- and rat- related puns Theme Naming.
- A Rasputin shows up in the Muffinwind mod for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. His theme music is Boney M's Rasputin, and at one point he slips up and refers to himself as Russia's greatest love machine (he tries to backtrack and claim that he meant Stros M'Kai when your character asks where in Oblivion this Russia he speaks of is), so it seems he is in fact this Rasputin. Yes, Muffinwind is not a very serious mod.
- Rasputin is the final boss of Lime-iro Senkitan. He's presented as a monk, at least. He's also presented as a villain mastermind with his own henchmen and an intent to take over Russia (and then, presumably, the world).
- In an Animaniacs short, Rasputin has the ability to hypnotize others instantly into doing his will...until he meets the Warners.
- Appears in a cameo towards the end of an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy as a spirit manifesting from some ectoplasm Mandy has sucked out of Grims' skull, alongside Attila the Hun and Abraham Lincoln. Mandy immediately asks Attila and Rasputin to tutor her, and for Lincoln to bring them snacks.