It’s hard to know who Rasputin really was. Even today, the image we have of him is filled with gaps. Lost records, propaganda from the people who hated him and disco music lyrics have all contributed to create a myth from this man. Nonetheless, he is one of the most famous characters of Imperial Russia. With the recent releases about the Russian Imperial Romanov family by King and Country, it’s no surprise to see him join the portrait! Let’s have a look at the TR006 - Grigori Rasputin himself.

The figure itself is quite sober and matches the descriptions and pictures we have of this man. Rasputin was a self-proclaimed holy man and was not a member of any official religious group of the Ortodox Church. But he was still following many of the rules established in such groups. Therefore he is here wearing a priest’s plain grey cassock and carries a golden cross of the Russian Orthodox Church in his hand. For his feet, he wears long black varnished leather boots. He has his long beard and his hairs are splitted in half on his forehead. What is interesting is that the figure doesn’t have Rasputin’s balding spot of his later days. This set the figures in the early 1910’s, which is compatible with the rest of the royal family from this collection as those are all based on pictures taken circa 1912.

Rasputin on a postcard, April 1st 1914.

Eventually, Rasputin was killed in 1916. Rumours say that he was poisoned, but poison had no effect on him. So he was shot, rolled in a rug and tossed in the Malaya Nevka River. A good movie relating those events is the 1967 Italo-Franco production “I Killed Rasputin” with the young Geraldine Chaplin and Gert Fröbe as Rasputin. This biographical film is quite interesting as it includes an introduction from Felix Yusupov who participated in those events. This movie version is based on his accounts.

he French version of the movie poster.

But was Rasputin really killed on that day? It’s a big question. In the comic books of Corto Maltese, Rasputin survived and is a regular character. In disco music, Boney M sang his glorious life and death. With all the mysteries and gaps surrounding his life, Rasputin is certainly an historical figure with a lot of potential for personnal reappropriation.

Rasputin and Corto Maltese by Hugo Pratt.

The release of that new figure will surely be the occasion for collectors to tell stories about Rasputin. Somes will be true while others will be inventions... and it might be hard to tell which is which. So let’s close this blog with a bit of disco music as it’s certain this was a marking song.