Author Topic: Why the Yusupov Palace?  (Read 38510 times)

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2013, 10:11:00 AM »
I always think it was Yusupov Palace and Felix and Dimity because the Imperial family wanted it known they  killed Rasputin ...I mean why else? It was a message to Alex and Nichols or a message to the people , but you don't get rid of  the court favorite  in such a comic opera public way unless you want it known...imo

No no. Quite the opposite!  You must remember that no member of the Imperial Family nor their house could be searched or questioned much less arrested for a crime.  Thus the Yussupov Palace was off limits to the police and provided a secure place to carry out the murder.  Dmitri and Felix were of course the Imperial Family members who couldn't be questioned or arrested, and since the plan was for Rasputin to simply disappear, it made perfect sense (until things didn't go as planned).  Rasputin would have just disappeared.  The Yussupov Palace could not be searched, Felix and Dmitri could not be questioned about their involvement.  If Rasputin had just died in that basement, and the conspirators were a tad more careful about dumping the body in the Neva, it would have gone without a hitch and the disappearance of Rasputin would be in the same part of history as Amelia Airhardt, Jimmy Hoffa and Judge Crater.


Offline rudy3

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2013, 10:59:19 AM »
Air...hardt yes, close enough for a pilot... Amelia Earhart.

Offline blessOTMA

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #32 on: July 19, 2013, 03:21:58 AM »
Good  points, but if the idea of  the operation was competent and complete  removal,  I can't see having Dmitri and Felix in charge. 
Even if Rasputin never made it out of the cellar,  their plan, or lack of one , of how to dispose the body was laughable in that guard and seemingly last minute. It's like, oops... they forgot that part. 

They  were so astonishingly  hapless at every turn, it's difficult  to believe secrecy was the idea .  From  the very start when Felix invited Rasputin to his home... Those around Rasputin  would be well aware that's where he was going ...as I'm sure he proudly told people of it. Even if Dmitri and Felix  executed everything else in a competent  manner,  that alone would have sunk them. We saw how long the usual protections for a Grand Duke lasted in this case .

Would you say others in the family knew and encouraged what they planned? I would think those who singed the letter calling for clemency to be the a good, rough  list of those in the know and cheering section ...i

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #33 on: July 19, 2013, 09:13:39 AM »
One can't "Monday Morning Quarterback" history. In order to understand events, one has to consider the point of view of the actors.  Of course Felix and Dmitri would be hapless as murderers, but they wouldn't see it that way. Felix and Dmitri felt there was nothing else to be done but be rid of Rasputin. Now, they couldn't just go and hire somebody to do that.  They couldn't risk anyone being arrested and jailed. They would know that as members of the Imperial Family, they would be immune to the police and prosecution.

With that, what makes sense for them? To lure Rasputin somewhere, somewhere private that they could have total control.  BUT they had to make certain Rasputin would show up.  He was, don't forget, often rather mercurial about such things. The one thing Rasputin really really wanted was to meet Irina.  With Irina out of town, but without Rasputin knowing that, an invitation to meet her at the Yussupov Palace would be one he couldn't refuse.  The Palace was certainly private and someplace where Felix could be assured of total control and privacy.  Further it couldn't ever be searched for evidence, and that protection would buy Felix all the time in the world (from his POV) to clean up the place and destroy any trace of the deed. 

The family had no real idea of what they were planning, but rumor was rampant in Petersburg about plots against Rasputin.  Don't forget people warned him NOT to go to meet Yussopov.  Felix and Dmitri would have known that Rasputin knew there may be plots against him, and they had to make certain to be able to get Rasputin to show up, when and where they wanted.  Thus, the Yussupov Palace, with the temptation of meeting Irina was the perfect solution, from their point of view.

Offline John Walker

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2013, 01:32:25 PM »
Re. reply 33, "They couldn't just hire somebody to do that.  They couldn't risk anyone being arrested or jailed.  I am in danger of going around in circles here but with due respect to your otherwise excellent comment Forum Admin, WHY NOT???  They had the money and the ability/contacts to find and hire somebody to do the job professionally.  Even if the assassin had been caught and even if he/she said "Felix and Dmitri paid me to do it", they would simply deny it.  In fact the assassin need never know who was hiring him/her.  He would be chosen and an unknown person would approach him with "Here is x million rubles, you will get the other half when Rasputin is dead.  How or where you do it is for you to decide."  I do not speak from first hand knowledge but I believe that is how James Cagney did it!
So again we return to the original question.  'Why the Yussupov Palace".  You pick him up in an unmarked car. You are dressed in disguise to avoid recognition by the yard man. You drive one minute down Gorokhova onto the Fontanka Bridge where on a cold dark winter night, 200 meters from any building, you put a bullet in him, the noise muffled to some extent by the engine and the thickness of clothing and any peripheral damage to the car of little importance. 

Offline Petr

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2013, 02:01:03 PM »
Well I also agree that one can't monday quarter back history however I also agree that one can try to put oneself in the minds of the principals. Given their backgrounds and upbringing I believe they would have considered it dishonorable to have hired a paid assassin to do their dirty work. Remember DP was a Guards officer and he would have considered it a point of honor to carry out what he and the majority of his class considered to be an act to save Russia.     
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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2013, 06:19:40 PM »
Re. reply 33, "They couldn't just hire somebody to do that.  They couldn't risk anyone being arrested or jailed.  I am in danger of going around in circles here but with due respect to your otherwise excellent comment Forum Admin, WHY NOT???  They had the money and the ability/contacts to find and hire somebody to do the job professionally.  Even if the assassin had been caught and even if he/she said "Felix and Dmitri paid me to do it", they would simply deny it.  In fact the assassin need never know who was hiring him/her.  He would be chosen and an unknown person would approach him with "Here is x million rubles, you will get the other half when Rasputin is dead.  How or where you do it is for you to decide."  I do not speak from first hand knowledge but I believe that is how James Cagney did it!
So again we return to the original question.  'Why the Yussupov Palace".  You pick him up in an unmarked car. You are dressed in disguise to avoid recognition by the yard man. You drive one minute down Gorokhova onto the Fontanka Bridge where on a cold dark winter night, 200 meters from any building, you put a bullet in him, the noise muffled to some extent by the engine and the thickness of clothing and any peripheral damage to the car of little importance. 

Why the Yusupov Palace? Because it's the palace of Felix Yussupov.  As for hiring a hitman. John, why on earth would Rasputin get in an unmarked car, a strange car, with someone he didn't know, had never seen before? I mean why? He'd certainly go with Felix, especially with the incentive to meet Irina. Hiring a hitman would be risky and it's not unlikely that Felix a nd Dimitry's inexperience with murder and hugger-mugger would extend to working things out with some would-be gangster who would be no sure bet to kill Rasputin and get away with it.
Rodney G.

Offline John Walker

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #37 on: July 24, 2013, 09:52:06 AM »
I am sorry if I did not make myself clear Rodney G!  An unmarked car arrived at 64 Gorokhova with Felix dressed to disguise his features.  The yardman reported the unmarked car driving off with Rasputin and persons unknown.  This is in his deposition.  This is part one of the process.  Part three of the process was disposing of the body from Petrovski Bridge.  Parts one and three happened and we know how they happened.  Part two of the process is the killing of Rasputin.  Having got Rasputin in the car why not simply kill him in the car with gun or knife or garotte?  It would be simple.  Gorokhova is and was, like the Moika and Fontanka embankments, a residential area of apartment blocks, ill lit and at 01.00 on a December night sparsely populated.  Any eye witness could only report hearing a disturbance from a passing unmarked car. Why drive the unmarked car to the yard adjacent the Palace in full view of the duty policeman 30-40 metres away.  Why risk Rasputin's presence in the Palace being suspected if not actually known?  Why ever use the farcical method of poisoned cakes?  No, if they had only wanted to kill Rasputin they would not have taken him to the Palace.
Regarding the other recent reply.  Dmitri... guardsman... honour?  There is nothing honourable about murder whether you do it yourself or contract it out.  In fact arguably it would be even more dishonourable for Dmitri to have his own hand involved. 
Thank you both for your input and provoking further interesting thought.     

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #38 on: July 24, 2013, 10:08:58 AM »
Poisoning Rasputin actually made good sense.  It would be quiet and not involve any violence or struggle.  Sadly, Rasputin never ate the poisoned cakes (we know this from the autopsy) and this is where it all fell apart.  The initial plan of getting Rasputin into the basement of the Yussupov Palace (which if you've been down there is really way down and solid stone) was sound.  They were in total control of part 2, there would be no witnesses of any kind to even worry about (no night watchmen on the street or somebody coming home very late from a party or whatever).  Felix could have said, yes he was here, got drunk, then he left.  The car carrying the body would have been the "proof" of that. Nobody would ever be the wiser.  With Felix's home immune from any further investigation there would be nothing more than a drunken Rasputin went out into the dark night and vanished. Don't forget, Rasputin was well known for late night drunken cavorting and frequenting prostitutes.  No one would have questioned Felix's word that Rasputin was there, got drunk, and left.  Nobody would have seen anything else to question it.

It was only when they had to shoot and kill him that their ineptitude came into play.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2013, 04:37:44 AM »
John Walker

Russian officers had a rather different conception of honour. 'Russian Hussar' by Vladimir Littauer (like Dimitri, a graduate of the Nikolaievsky Cavalry School) is interesting on this point. Littauer says that when off duty before the war he always carried a loaded pistol in his pocket in case someone insulted his regiment (the 1st Sumsky Hussars) and he would 'have' to shoot him.

Also remember that after the huge wartime casualties, life was cheap, and disposing of one bogus holy man for the good of the nation would be considered an honourable thing.

Ann

Offline Petr

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2013, 12:00:53 PM »
Not just the honor of the regiment. As an officer all ones actions reflected on the honor of the regiment. The code of honor was a serious matter, pervasive and included ones personal life, hence the practice of dueling. It was quite formalized with Regimental Commissions of Honor being convened to consider matters involving violations of the code. It touched Felix Yusupov's life directly in that his older brother at the age of 26 (the Yusupov curse) was killed in a duel over his affair with a married woman. My Grandfather, a Horse Guards officer and good friend of DP (they served together) was nearly involved in a duel over an insult to my Grandmother (the duel was avoided because a formal apology was issued). Not so my Great Uncle (a member of the Hussar regiment) who was involved in a duel over an affront to my Great Aunt.  Thankfully, though shot the wound was minor. Without condoning Rasputin's murder, to dismiss the idea of an "act of honor" out of hand is to misunderstand the mind set of the Officer Corps of that time. By the way, dueling was quite common in earlier periods in the British and German Armies and even the US Colonial Army and in society at large. After all, as you know Hamilton was killed in a duel by Aaron Burr.  Rightly or wrongly personal honor was highly valued. In the minds of the aristocracy it was what distinguished them from the masses. You need only read Anna Karenina to get a flavor of what I'm talking about. While not advocating a return to dueling I'm not sure that in today's morally relativistic age the reintroduction of just a smidgen of the notion of personal honor in our public and private lives wouldn't be a bad thing. Witness the current disgraceful political campaigns by certain politicians for Mayor and Comptroller of New York City.  :-[         
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Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #41 on: July 25, 2013, 12:19:43 PM »
Petr

Thank you for this useful information. Now you mention it I remember distinctly that in Anna Karenina Vronsky says more than once that he can't think why Karenin hasn't called him out. Also, Vronsky's personal code of honour requires him to pay someone else's gambling debts, but he doesn't pay his tailor on time. Very strange to me - MY personal honour means I pay builders and the like on the dot - but no doubt typical of his class and time.

Now I'm intrigued to know what the affronts to your grandmother and great aunt were.

Ann

Offline John Walker

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #42 on: July 26, 2013, 01:18:53 AM »
Defending the reputation of the regiment or a lady in a duel would have been seen as honourable to a Russian officer.  The planned slaughtering of an unarmed priest in cold blood because you dislike his political persuasion woud not.  As Nicholas II, also and officer, said, No man has the right to take the life of another.
That topic deserves a post of its own but here it has deflected notice away from Forum Admin's interesting reply 38.
Autopsy?  My information is that the original autopsy report was suppressed by Alexandra Feodorovna and never published, that it 'disappeared' after the October Revolution and that the only surviving information is the March 1917 interview of Kossorotov by Russkaya Volya which may be accurate but by nature is not a primary source.
The basement room?  Yes, I know the basement well.  I live at Moika Embankment address, have visited the crime scene several times and was in discussion on this issue there only last week.
Forum Admin's reasoning for the choice of the Palace applies even more to the car.  At the Palace there were people around.  A policeman, two yard men and Felix's butler/batman all made depositions.  Even if slight there was the danger of a passer-by.  In the car would have been only the conspirators! 
Felix could say 'Yes, he was here.  He got drunk.  He left.'  No!  The last person to see the victim alive is usually the first person to be suspected.           

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #43 on: July 26, 2013, 03:14:06 AM »
Rightly or wrongly, the conspirators regarded Rasputin as a national menace, and believed it necessary to eliminate him for the good of the nation. Another 2 million military casualties against the life of one bogus holy man? In their eyes there was no contest whatever.

We may disagree, but in their eyes it was honourable.

Ann

Offline Petr

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Re: Why the Yusupov Palace?
« Reply #44 on: July 26, 2013, 08:00:59 AM »
Defending the reputation of the regiment or a lady in a duel would have been seen as honourable to a Russian officer.  The planned slaughtering of an unarmed priest in cold blood because you dislike his political persuasion woud not.  As Nicholas II, also and officer, said, No man has the right to take the life of another.
 

I have been placed in the rather uncomfortable position of seemingly defending the murder of Rasputin when in fact I was only trying to propose an explanation why Yusupov and DP did not hire a paid assassin. In fact, Margarita Nelipa's book makes a good case for the proposition that Rasputin, while having many faults, was not as bad as history seems to portray him (e.g., the mad monk, etc.).  Having read her book I found hints of a rather old theme, was his murder more a case of the "establishment" squashing an "uppity" uncouth peasant who had climbed too high or did he, in fact, really pose a threat to the country. The popular press of that day and many in the Imperial Family, the highest strata of society and government clearly held the latter view. I think it's fair to say that it involved more than a simple dispute over his "political persuasions" since he did meddle in governmental appointments through his influence on AF and was known to hold anti-war views at a time when the country was at war.  Obviously, however, murder is morally wrong and rarely, if ever, justified. By the way, the autopsy reports are publically available and she discusses them at length.

Petr 
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