On July 19, 1914, the notorious monk Grigory Rasputin was savagely stabbed by a former prostitute Khioniya Guseva, who claimed he was the devil.
“I have killed the Antichrist!” she screamed. Swinging the knife she ran after Rasputin who was staggering down the street clutching his entrails in his hand. A crowd quickly gathered, captured the frantic woman and handed her over to the police. In the days that followed, Rasputin was in a critical condition, close to death and desperately fighting for his life. Rumors of his death were spreading fast.
Intrigue and controversy always surrounded Rasputin, who infiltrated Russia’s Romanov royal family as a “holy man” and a “powerful healer”. He was worshiped by the common people and seduced society women with his hypnotic gaze. But to his enemies, Rasputin was evil incarnate. His promiscuity was legendary, and St. Petersburg’s newspapers were bursting with letters from rape victims, crude cartoons and articles rich with other scandalous allegations.
Russia’s aristocrats and church bishops disapproved of the grubby, self-proclaimed monk, who had enormous influence over Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Aleksandra Feodorovna, and had the power to make or unmake palace ministers. To the nobles and Nicholas’s family members, Rasputin was a dual character who could go straight from praying for the royal family to the brothel down the street.
Nobles ascribed to Rasputin all the trouble Russia was going through and did everything they could to get rid of the hated “holy devil”. There were attempts to buy him off and assassinations were being plotted constantly. “Death is near me,” Rasputin used to say. “She’s crawling towards me like a whore.”
Rasputin got better from his stab wounds with the help of a skilled doctor and his own enormous physical strength. Straight after Rasputin recovered, he accused his former close associate - a monk named Iliodor - of conspiring in the assassination attempt. "It is all that cursed Iliodor. But, to the confusion of himself and my enemies, I will live, and they will have nooses put around their necks."
Iliodor had recently launched a slander campaign against Rasputin, denouncing him as a false prophet. But Guseva denied his participation, declaring that she attempted to kill Rasputin because he was spreading temptation among the innocent. No connection could be made between her and Iliodor, and Guseva was eventually locked up in a madhouse, destined to spend the rest of her life there.
Although Rasputin survived this horrible attack, his judgment day was closing in. He would eventually be forever remembered as the man who was implicated in the eventual destruction of the Romanov family.