Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Sashenka

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A Novel

by Simon Sebag Montefiore

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  • First Published:
    Nov 2008, 544 pages
    Nov 2009, 544 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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About this Book

Beyond the Book

A Short Biography of Rasputin
Rasputin's role within St. Petersburg's high society is detailed throughout the first section of Sashenka.

Gregori Yefimovich Rasputin was born in a small village in Siberia in 1864 or 1865. At the age of 18 he was sent to a monastery, possibly as a penance for a minor theft. He returned a changed man, and embarked on the life of a religious mystic. He married in 1889 and had three children. In 1901 he started traveling, spending time in Greece and Jerusalem, eventually settling in St. Petersburg in 1903 as a self-proclaimed holy man, healer and prophet.

He was initially well-received by the Russian Orthodox Church in St Petersburg. He was charismatic, with a talent for calming people and his forthright peasant style lent him increasing credibility with St. Petersburg's aristocracy. He developed a relationship with Anna Vyrubova, a close friend of Tsaritsa Alexandra, which eventually led to his introduction to the Empress.


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