The mystery of Rasputin’s murder


The Yusupov palace keeps not only magnificent treasures and unique works of art, but also a dark secret of events that may have played an important role in the history of the Russian Empire.

One of the most strange and terrible murders of the early XX century happened in the cellars of the mansion. 17 Dec 1916 Grigory Rasputin, an extraordinary and mysterious person, met his end there. A simple Siberian peasant, rude and uncouth, he not only managed to become a favorite and indispensable advisor of the Royall family, but also actively interfered in the political decisions of the sovereign.

Rasputin's murder
Rasputin and the Royals

There were many of those who were disaffected with the rise of “God’s elder” and his significant influence on the Emperor. For this reason in 1916 a few influential people of the Russian Empire, including prince Felix Yusupov, prepared the murder of Rasputin.

Rasputin was invited to the Yusupov Palace on the Moika river embankment in order to get acquainted with the host’s wife Irina. Here, in the deep basement, Rasputin was poisoned. But cyanide, which was injected into Rasputin’s favorite cakes, didn’t affect him. A direct shot didn’t kill the elder either. Mortally wounded in the chest, the Emperor’s favorite nearly strangled Yusupov and managed to escape. Rasputin even crushed a locked door, and almost left the yard. He was stopped by three shots in the back, and only the fourth bullet in the neck knocked the old man down. After another shot to the head Rasputin was still breathing. The conspirators put the body in the car, took him to the Malaya Nevka river and dropped into the ice hole. 

Currently in the basement of the Yusupov Palace there is an exhibition with wax figures that represents the details of the terrible and largely incomprehensible murder.

“Currently in the basement of the Yusupov Palace there is an exhibition with wax figures that represents the details of the terrible and largely incomprehensible murder”

However, the Yusupov Palace bears not only the dark history of Rasputin’s murder. It is also a masterpiece of palace architecture with beautiful examples of residential interiors, partially restored, but for the most part preserved in its original form. The first thing visitors see when they come to Yuspov Palace is the exquisite grand staircase, which brings images of beauties walking up the steps in magnificent dresses and their companions in elegant costumes and striking uniforms. While walking through lounge rooms – and there are several of them in the palace – you seem to hear the laughter of the ladies and restrained voice of their gentlemen that are having rest there. The luxurious main dining-room gives you an impression of the princely family having lunch. In the banquet white column hall, which is the largest room of the Yusupov Palace, you imagine hundreds of dancing couples and hear the music pouring from under the ceiling. There, in a special box, musicians were located. The banquet hall is remarkable not only for its architecture, but also for the amazing acoustics.

Rasputin's murder
The Saviour on Spilled Blood
Rasputin's murder
Prince Felix Yusupov

Yusupov Palace inferior the Hermitage or Peterhof in luxury and fame, but, according to many feedbacks, attending the palace leaves the indelible mark of St. Petersburg. That’s probably because, unlike the Hermitage and Peterhof, the Yusupov Palace in our days is not perceived as a museum. It seems that the tenants left it only yesterday, and their spirit still lingers within its walls, carrying everyone who appears inside into the era of luxury and intrigues.