Our charismatic charlatan was born circa 1872 somewhere in the village of Pokrovskoe, presently Tiumen' Oblast. Pokrovskoe is located in Siberia and can be found on the Toura River, not far from the Ural Mountains. It was a smallish village, not quite poor, which arranged itself around a large, domed church of Russian Orthodox flavor. The Rasper grew up a peasant, barely literate, who came to be a monk. An insane monk, but a monk nonetheless. His doctrine consisted of the promise of salvation via religious fanaticism and sexual indulgence. Oddly enough, for a religious man, he did practice what he preached.
"The Holy Devil" came to St. Petersburg at a time when men such as himself were in demand. The church wanted a few, good men who could sway the populace and hence control them. Rasputin had a talent for healing the sick and terrifying the healthy and soon found his place as a servant of God. The church began to use him and he, in turn, used them back. His thirst for money and power was on par with his appetite for the ladies and his big break came in 1907 when he was called to the czar's palace to examine Czarevich Aleksei (Alexis) -- Nicholas and Alexandra's son -- the intended heir to all things czar and a hemophiliac. Go figure - the prince was a bleeder.
"The Evil Monk" was successful and the healthy results brought him great favor from the Russian court and, especially, Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna. Rasputin intoned and warned that both the Tsarevich and the Romanov dynasty were "irrevocably linked to him" and starting in 1911 he began systematically replacing high-level counsels to the czar with thugs, magicians and other assorted weasels. His power was increased greatly when Nicholas sent himself off to war as General of the Russian armies, leaving Rasputin home alone with the wife. His meticulous undermining of the Romanov's power was successful and the entire country was weakened as if from blood loss. The other members of the Romanov house eventually took matters into their own hands and conspired to have Rasputin killed.
For details on that endearing ending, our demon's delicious demise, check out Discofever's lurid accounts in "Rasputin : A Hard Man To Kill".
The name "Rasputin" has also come to be slang for any person who exercises great but insidious influence.