Grigory Rasputin is without question one of the most scandalous figures in Russian history. This randy mystic from Siberia arrived in St. Petersburg in 1911 and within a few years had become one of the most influential men in government circles. His ability to remain in such a high position despite widely publicized bouts of drinking and womanizing is no doubt the source of tremendous envy among political figures around the world today.

Rasputin's rise to preeminence was due to his close relationship with Nicholas II's wife, Alexandra. The heir to the throne, Alexis, suffered from hemophaelia, and only Rasputin could do what the top medical professors could not: he could stop the boy's bleeding. Because of this, Alexandra believed he was a holy man sent to protect Alexis and she kept him close by at all times, despite the fact that he rarely bathed.

Rasputin is as famous for his death as he is for his life. At the end of 1916, a group of aristocrats in cahoots with the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich (a cousin of Nicholas II) decided that Rasputin's influence had grown too great and that he had to be killed in order to save Russia. They lured him to the Yusupovsky Palace on the pretext that Prince Felix Yusupovsky would introduce Rasputin to his beautiful wife.

Rasputin was led to the cellar and fed poisoned cakes and wine, but these did affect him. Yusupovsky then shot the monk at point blank range and Rasputin collapsed on the floor. When Yusupov went to tell his fellow conspirators the good news, they sent him back to make sure he had done the job. On returning to inspect the body, Rasputin suddenly regained consciousness and started to throttle poor Yusupov, who needless to say was completely scared out of his wits. The Prince fled the cellar, screaming for help; when they returned Rasputin was gone. They found him in the yard crawling towards the gate and proceeded to shoot and bludgeon him. They then bound him and tossed him into the river. When Rasputin's body was found, his bonds were broken and his lungs were filled with water, showing that he didn't actually die until he was submerged in the frozen waters.