Rasputin's Murder & Canadian Politics
steffanileman | May 8, 2011 at 04:38 pmby
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What does Rasputin’s murder have to do with Canadian Politics? First of all, it’s likely that Michael Ignatieff wouldn’t be here if that event hadn’t taken place. Neither would I, for that matter. That event is closely tied in with the Russian Revolution. The political landscape that brought about the 2011 federal election would have been different. Maybe Stephane Dion would’ve won, or not lost with a landslide, and Canada’s socialists wouldn’t have risen from the ashes in Quebec.
Father Grigory Rasputin was a poor peasant from Siberia with powers of spiritual healing and clairvoyance. After he miraculously healed the heir to the Russian throne dying from haemophilia he became an overnight celebrity and a protégé of Tsarina Alexandra. His love of women and booze made him a successful marriage counsellor to the aristocracy, the females of course. After he started meddling in politics he had a falling out with the Orthodox Church and the Tsar’s ministers, which led to his banishment from St. Petersburg.
Doctors couldn’t do anything to save Prince Alexei when he started bleeding again until the Tsarina found and pleaded with Rasputin to heal him. Rasputin healed the little boy when he was thousands of miles away from St. Petersburg. This time he returned to the Russian Court with more power and influence and made bigger enemies of the Church, Government, and the Tsar’s family.
After all, save maybe a couple of Christian mystics, Rasputin was the only priest in the history of Christianity with proven healing powers besides Jesus H. Christ himself, and politically he was entirely incorrect. The Church took issue with his declaration that he’d seen a vision of Christ and forced him to recant it.
A serf himself, Rasputin was interested in social justice. It’s possible that he foresaw the cataclysmic events that were about to befall Russia. Legend has it that personalities with extraordinary powers appeared before such upheavals as the French Revolution to warn of the impending doom. After World War I broke out Rasputin warned the Tsar not to go to war. The warning went unheeded. Disastrous results for Russia on the battlefront laid the foundation for the holocaust that was the Communist Revolution.
He tried to advise the Tsar on reforms that might have changed the course of history, but Tsar Nicholas was torn between his love of his son and provocations by those around him. It’s a matter of history that the last of the Romanovs was an indecisive man that made the wrong decisions at the wrong time and wrong place. To the aristocracy Rasputin was a lecherous drunk that was probably having an affair with the Tsarina. They resented the fact that a worthless peasant was in a position of influence over matters of state. Finally Prince Yusupov, the Tsar’s nephew, decided to kill Rasputin and invited to him to a party at his residence. Since the strong poison they put in his food was ineffective and he just wouldn’t die even with a shot to his head, Yusupov and his friends shot him numerous times and dumped him in the river.
It’s possible that Rasputin foresaw his death but accepted his destiny as Jesus did. He had made an ominous prediction that had chilled Tsarina Alexandra to her bones: “Within one year of my death the Romanov Dynasty will collapse. If any member of the Tsar’s family has anything to do with it, no member of his family will survive.” Was this the prediction of a clairvoyant, or a curse?
As Rasputin predicted, one of history’s bloodiest revolutions broke out in 1917 and changed the face of Europe and then the World. The Tsar’s entire family was murdered. Michael Ignatieff’s grandfather, the Tsar’s only surviving minister, managed to escape with his family to the West. My grandfather, a loyalist army officer, barely escaped after fighting the Communists but lost everything including his wife and children. Communists slaughtered the White Russian Army to the last man and hunted down everyone associated with it.
There was something spectacular and surreal about Michael Ignatieff’s rise in Canadian Politics, but so were his downfall and the resurgence of the NDP. Who could’ve predicted that such an extraordinary intellect would’ve led to the collapse of the once mighty Liberal Party of Canada?
We can reason, of course, that an academic new to politics had little chance against two seasoned politicians. Or, maybe there are forces at play that have nothing to do with our left-brained rationalisations. In any event, it’s a good time to contemplate if we have learned anything from Rasputin, the Romanovs and the Russian Revolution.
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