So, I don't know if you've ever heard of Grigori Rasputin (Pronounced Gregory). If you have, I assume all you know of him is from a song from the... 70's? I think so. By Boney M.
I find Rasputin an absolutely fascinating man. I'll give you all a brief history if you're unaware of who he is or why he's got a silly name.
Grigori Rapustin - also known as Grigory, depending on who's talking - was a peasant man from a small town in Russia. He was born in 1869. As he grew, he discovered he had mystical powers - which are definitely suspect. Probably just hypnosis - and the tsarina noticed in 1905.
You see, the tsarina at this time, Alexandra who was German-borne, had many daughters and only one son. This son suffered from a fairly common disease seen in the tsar's bloodline: Hemophilia. Hemophilia is a genetic disorder that disrupts the body's ability to clot or coagulate blood. The word literally means "love of blood." This disease causes any minor injury to become possibly fatal, definitely not something you want the only tsarevich to have.
Tsarina Alexandra believed that this "holy man" Rasputin could heal her son, guaranteeing his spot as future tsar of Russia. Of course, Rasputin could not heal hemophilia; we can't even do that today. However, his hypnosis caused the tsarevich to go into a relaxed state, which many believe helps with the symptoms of hemophilia.
The tsarina felt so indebted to Rasputin that he eventually had immense power of the state, especially with the tsar at the front lines of World War I. The upper class did not like the peasant with his hand in government, unsurprisingly. So, they decided that they needed to get rid of him.
Prince Felix Yusopov led this little band of murderers. They invited Rasputin to a night of merriment and drinking and hanging out with prostitutes, some of Rasputin's favorite things. The details of this night are kind of fuzzy, but these details are the ones that historians are fairly certain of.
Rasputin arrived and Felix invited him to the basement of his home (warning sign number one Rasputin...). The fed him cakes and wine laced with cyanide, enough to kill him several times over. And this is where things get really interesting.
Rasputin didn't die.
He kept drinking and eating and drinking. Finally, he stood and declared it was time for the prostitutes! Felix, nervous, asked him to wait and ran to the others to ask what to do. He returned ready to finish the job. He had a revolver and shot Rasputin once. He collapsed, apparently dead. The upper class men decided to go celebrate so they left. Felix returned home shortly after, having forgotten a coat. He checked on Rasputin's body.
Rasputin lunged at Yusopov. The other men returned, however, and ran downstairs. After being shot three more times, Rasputin fell once more. However, he was still alive! They began to club him until he was unconscious. They wrapped his body up and threw him in the river by Felix's home.
An autopsy of his body, discovered a few days later, found water in his lungs, proving he had drowned.
Moral of the story?
Russians named Rasputin are badasses.