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Rasputin was not the madman portrayed in books and film. He was a healer, a champion of the underdog and downtrodden, and he was anti-war. He was especially horrified at the ethnic cleansing (pogroms) conducted by the military. It was a time when anti-Semitism was government policy, as evidenced by the laws restricting Jews to live in a certain area (The Pale of Settlement) and barring them from educations and many occupations. The worst were the raids wherein entire towns of Jews were tortured and slaughtered. To be against war (during WW I) and to advocate equal rights for Jews (who were all considered spies and thieves) were stances that were considered treasonous by society. Even worse, Rasputin had many progressive ideas for economic and social reform that threatened the nobility but which could have avoided the revolution. Read “RASPUTIN: THE MEMOIRS OF HIS SECRETARY” by Aron Simanovitch, recently translated into English and annotated for historical accuracy. Rasputin was a wild guy, but not the monster the aristocracy tried to depict him as. The demonic myth is based on the rumors the nobles spread to discredit him.
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