Author Topic: Richard Cullen's Documentary on Rasputin as Shown on Discovery Channel  (Read 39049 times)

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David_Pritchard

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2005, 01:25:39 AM »
I would like to speculate just a little on the theory of the British Secret Service being involved or supportive of the Rasputin murder.

Keeping the Imperial Russian armed forces in conflict was of the utmost importance to all of the allied powers be it France, Italy or Great Britain. That a drunken, seduced or bribed Rasputin was a conduit of secret information to German spys was of great concern to all on the allied side, including the Russian nobility and the mass of the Imperial Family excluded from Empress Aleksandra's cocoon. Rasputin's bad advice was also a great concern. Was the advice of his own thinking or was he in the pay of German spys trying to sabotage the Russian war effort. Two older Russian nobles whose fathers were both Ministers (Agricullture and Economics) in the Emperor's service have both suggested to me that Rasputin's motivation in the dismissal of capable civil servants was a consolidation of personal power and influence by German spys.

Interestingly, it was proposed to me that Grand Duke Dmitry was working for British intelligence in Paris during the early years of World War II by one of his grandchildren. Could it be that his first contact with British intelligence was in the planning of Rasputin's demise? Whatever the case, soon after being evacuated from Teheran by the British, he was commissioned a captain in the British Army by George V. As far as anyone in the family knows, this commission was never resigned or revoked.

When his grandchild attempted to get records of the Grand Duke's service in the Army, the Ministry of Defence sent a few basic photocopies of documents but refused the bulk of the request as the documents were considered to be national secrets. It makes one wonder if the secrets were of the First World War, the Second World War or both and why would they still need to be secret?

David

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2005, 07:03:59 AM »
Quote
One can hardly hold Mr. Cullen responsible for the skewered history. It takes a very strong, persistent and forceful historian to keep a producer, director and editor from destroying one's good research because they feel it would be more entertaining if portrayed in an inaccurate or embellished manner.


Good point!

Quote
As for true history, we have a number of versions of the story. I have long felt that the role of Grand Duke Dmitry has been downplayed. It should be noted that of all of the conspirators, it was Grand Duke Dmitry who received the harshest punishment from the Emperor.

We do know from the inquest that it was the Grand Duke who ultimately killed Rasputin as the Grand Duke attached weights to Rasputin and dropped him in the river. The autopsy stated that the cause of death was drowning.


How do you know this? From the accounts I've read, Dmitri drove the getaway car, but sat in it still running and refusing to get out as Puriskevitch and Ivan S. dumped the body. (I have even seen an account that 2 soldiers picked up in front of the palace helped, but not Dmitri. Felix had passed out and was left at home, by some accounts, so was Lazovert.)


Quote
I have always found it a bit odd that Felix claimed to have done the shooting himself. I am more inclined to believe that an accomplished soldier


I think it's that Felix WANTED the fame from it, and the actual killer did not. He loved to brag, loved to tell the story, he wanted the fame, the real killer did not. Felix was not a good marksman, he hated the military and had always refused it, only joining the "Corps De Pages" (a school for young boys he was actually too old to go to) to get himself a uniform because of the scorn on healthy young men in plain clothes at a time when so many were dying at the front. He also developed a distaste for hunting, and apparently did not own a gun. The gun he used was Dmitri's. Purishkevitch was also no marksman, a short, heavy, terribly nearsighted politician and writer. So he and Felix were glad to take the blame, though I don't think it was their shots that killed him. Of course, Felix is still guilty as a conspirator, and he did fire one shot. But I don't think he was the cause of the death of Rasputin.

Quote
As you know, the Grand Duke never broke his pledge regarding the secrecy of that night. This is could easily be seen as a sign of guilt. It would be much easier to write or speak about the Rasputin event if one did not do the actual killing.


I think that is very suspicious, along with Purishkevitch going out of his way to keep mentioning Dmitri had no blood on his hands. Makes me think he was hiding something.


Offline Richard_Cullen

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2005, 09:14:12 AM »
Hi guys

Sorry under a lot of pressure at work at the moment and only had a chance to look in today.

Forceful historian well that is an interesting comment, I was there for the bits of filming when you see me, but not for the 'dramatic' bits of it, although generally I concur with much of it - although it does have to 'sell' so there is some license around the 'facts'.  I am surprised that others haven't read the thread about the involvement of the British in R's murder.  You will find a lot of detail in there.

You should all get on Amazon and buy Andrew Cook's book which tells the story of British involvement.  I now have authorities from Russia to use the material I have and will publish a paper on the forensic (of the court) re-examination as soon as I have time.

I am increasingly convinced the the shots and assault on R occurred in the basement room and none of it happened in the yard.  I have discovered some forensics which I missed initially and is missed in Andrew's book that throws even more doubt, if more was needed on Y and P's accounts.  I have a senior pathologist looking at what we have found.

By analysis of timings etc I can dsiprove even more.

No one knows what happened on that night - but it is nothing like the Y and P accounts nor like some previous studies.

I as Andrew have the Pm details and details of Prof Zharov's (Russia's leading pathologist) recent re-examination of the post mortem.  No drowning, no evidence of poisoning and shot in the forehaed at contact range - not from 20 paces behind as suggested by P.

Will contribute more and update for FA will make my submission on Nicholas II thread in next couple of days when I get some space.

As an aside the Time Watch is an accurate as it can be in 50 minutes - we could have made three programmes on the informatuion available.  Of course they had to use different courtyards etc and in a short time have to give a flavour of Rasputin.  I think they did a good job, or else it would be only watched by boring quasi historians like myself.

If you want to put questions in this thread that you want answered happy to do so, but you might have to wait a few days.  Don't e-mail because I can't find time to respond to individual questions but happy to do it in this thread.  Hope that helps so ask as much as you want.

Richard
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all, but he, departed!
Refrain:
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumberís chain hath bound me,
Sad memíry brings the light
Of other days around me.

Thomas Moore 1815

Offline Richard_Cullen

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2005, 10:37:22 AM »
Right a few more minutes so an update.  

We couldn't use the Yusupov Palace courtyard as it is now a children's playground and unfortunately covered in dog muck.  The railings and gates were removed years ago.  There are no other similar palaces on the Moika so the director had to make do with a similar palace - but it wasn't a very similar courtyard.  The body was thrown off the wrong side of the Petrovsky Bridge because it is no a foot bridge and they couldn't fit a car on it.  the only way the body could be thrown over a similar bridge was from the opposite side.  Alexander Palace was really expensive to film in as were most other than the Yusupov.

Most churches would not allow us to film a scene with someone purporting to be R so had to do with a very accommodating out of city church.

So much of it gave people a taste of what it was like but if you want to pick over details it was not correct but the issues around forensics were correct.

Three different pistols - all agree - pathologists at the original PM, Zharov, Prof Pounder at Dundee University and me three different weapons, probably a browning, a Sauvage and finally the shot to the head a larger calibre - in my original notes I wroite a .445 Webley - this is confirmed by Pounder.  Zharov says P and Y must have lied about what happened.

The bridge - some suggest the body was placed in an ice hole in the Malaya Nevka - it was thrown over, blood on the bridge supports etc.  But also I carried out flow experiments at the bridge and found from the spot where the blood traces were found the river carried various items of various weights to the spot where Rasputin's body was found.

The side gate at yhe Y Palace, P suggests that entry to the Palace was gained through these gates and he had to get them opened on the night of the murder - they were never opened and cars did not go out of those gates on the night of the murder.  The snow is banked against them in the forensic photographs and the examiners found a line of blood from the side door to the main gates.  It would have been there if the snow had been banked the day after the murder!!

Interested just ask loads more to come?

Richard
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all, but he, departed!
Refrain:
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumberís chain hath bound me,
Sad memíry brings the light
Of other days around me.

Thomas Moore 1815

Offline Richard_Cullen

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2005, 11:29:01 AM »
Having read everything in this theme I feel I ought to say I was not the historic consultant on this, I just re-investigated the murder, but I think the director's used licence around lighting etc., they did try their hardest but also have to make it interesting.  Historic accuracy around lighting, buildings, clothes etc may be important to 'experts' the general public just want a glimpse.  This was according to the BBC the best Time Watch ever and it had excellent viewing figures here.

The forensics the analysis of the statements and stories I am completely happy about, I wouldn't have done the programme if I wasn't and of course I had the opportunity to interview Zharov and had the full support of my friends at St Petersburg MVD University and the MVD generally.

So if they didn't get those bits right I am afraid that is the drama bit of this type of documentary.  But it does make things far more interesting for the average public.

I am quite happy being asociated with the programme because it has blown the top off the 'accepted version' of events.  Whether or not you accept the british involvement no one can realistically suggest that things panned out the way Y and P said it did.

I am encouraging the team to do a programme on the death of the IF but we will see.

No heroics by Dimitry, Felix and co.  You will find Andrew's book revealing, my re-investigation will be interesting for those of you that like detailed forensic analysis but it isn't for the casual reader.

I have always said there is more to come and I believe there is, I disagree with some of what Andrew says in his book and rely on the statements we have from 1916 and forensic analysis to prove 'who didn't kill Rasputin'.

Y and P would have been destroyed in court, had it gone to court, at sometimes I wonder, but there is evidence, whether they were at the Palace - they certainly LIED about what happened.

Richard
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all, but he, departed!
Refrain:
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumberís chain hath bound me,
Sad memíry brings the light
Of other days around me.

Thomas Moore 1815

Offline Richard_Cullen

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2005, 11:32:35 AM »
Sorry just to add,

Scales was at the front with the Tsar (there is some dispute about exactly where) we know the Tsar was and I have a copy of the telegram sent to him at the front.  Scale was very close to the Tsar, or so it seems.  As I said it was so difficult to give you a flavour of all the evidence we had - but you did see the Alley memo to Scale who was at the front - telling him what had happened - pretty conclusive?

Richard
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all, but he, departed!
Refrain:
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumberís chain hath bound me,
Sad memíry brings the light
Of other days around me.

Thomas Moore 1815

Offline Phil_tomaselli

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2005, 11:59:04 AM »
Actually Scale was in Roumania setting fire to oil wells just ahead of the advancing German Army (I have copies of the various reports written by him and his senior officer Colonel Norton-Griffiths).

The paper trail linking Youssopoff with the British agents Rayner, Scale and Alley is, in my mind, firmly established, not only by the memo/letter shown in the programme but by the diary of William Compton who acted as chauffeur to them on their various visits to the palace in the weeks leading up to the killing.

I leave it to Richard (who was a senior Scotland Yard detective until his retirement) to pick over the forensics but what he shown me has certainly convinced me that the "standard" story is complete hogwash.

Get hold of Andrew's book "To Kill Rasputin".  There arevarious points in there that many will disagree with but the basic thrust, that British agents were intimately involved in the murder, is pretty conclusive.

Phil Tomaselli

Offline Richard_Cullen

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2005, 01:17:43 PM »
Phil,

Cheers  now feel quite liberated that Andrew's book has been published and I have withheld publishing my forensic re-examination until after publication.

The statements of the witnesses are compelling and I have analysed each witness on the basis of whether they are subourned or not.  Unfortunately for whatever reason and despite the overwhelming forensic evidence some people want to believe in Y and P's fantasies.  just wish I could have a time machine and go back to early eveining 16 december 1916.

I do now believe that R was tortured other the firearm induced injuries, and those that might have been caused by being thrown off the Petroviski Bridge and hitting the supports do show a violent and sustained attack.  Not as described by Y or P.

Certainly an examination of the injuries to his testicles, which were crushed by what Kossortov basically describes as a cosh caused a leading Professor of Forensic Psychology, who I work with to say that it would tend to show 'pseudo sexual aggression'.

Certainly where I am currently re-constructing the murder it would not have been possible for Y to fire the first shot in the way he described - infact unless he was able to contort his body it is impossible.

Many who comment on the murder have never been to the Y Palace and seen how tiny that basement room is.  I was very grateful to Brian who sent me a picture of the room, believed to be circa 1916 that makes it look even more crowded.

You have to experience how narrow and step the stairs are up to door leading to the yard.  You have to measure how far '20 paces' would be across the yard, you have to know the effort it would require from a man, who both Kossorotov and Zharov agree would ahve been dead within 15-20 minutes from either of the body shots and in reality almost certainly incapacitated to climb those stairs and then run across the courtyard.

You have to understand the short distance between the Y Palace Yard and the police post that used to be on the opposite side of the Moika.

You have to make that not so short journey from the Y Palace to the Petrovesky Bridge and imagine how long it would have taken on the roads at the time - it is bad enough now.

You have to know how much effort it would take to throw a man over the railings of the bridge into the Malaya Nevka - a dead weight.

You have to look at farcical comments like 'dawn was approaching' 16 December is close to the shortest day in Russia 5.5 hours it isn't dawn until about 9am and it is dark by 3.00pm.  When you analyse the timings of the journies allegedly undertaken by P and others after the murder, even with a fair wind them couldn't have been at the station at 5.00am.

Great fun - glad it was on Television in USA.

Richard
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all, but he, departed!
Refrain:
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumberís chain hath bound me,
Sad memíry brings the light
Of other days around me.

Thomas Moore 1815

Offline Richard_Cullen

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2005, 01:21:50 PM »
Sorry,

Just picked something else up - the weights were not tied around the body - read Purishkevich's account and there were no weights attached to the body when he was found.  Not one bit of evidence Dimitry attached them, allegedly he drove the car - which raises another issue, but later.

He did not drown Kossortov is clear on this at the original autopsy and so is Zharov and Professor Pounder.  And more importantly so am I.

Buy hey why let forensic fact interfer with a good story.

R

I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all, but he, departed!
Refrain:
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumberís chain hath bound me,
Sad memíry brings the light
Of other days around me.

Thomas Moore 1815

Offline Richard_Cullen

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2005, 01:26:51 PM »
I also mis- typed above - Phil thanks for correcting it I meant to say Scale wasn't with the Tsar, but his exact location other than being in Romania on that precise night we don't know.  Muriel Scales was a marvellous and compelling witness.

R
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all, but he, departed!
Refrain:
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumberís chain hath bound me,
Sad memíry brings the light
Of other days around me.

Thomas Moore 1815

David_Pritchard

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2005, 10:30:13 PM »
Quote
Three different pistols - all agree - pathologists at the original PM, Zharov, Prof Pounder at Dundee University and me three different weapons, probably a browning, a Sauvage and finally the shot to the head a larger calibre - in my original notes I wroite a .445 Webley - this is confirmed by Pounder. †Zharov says P and Y must have lied about what happened.
Richard


Dear Richard,

Did Pounder say from which type of pistol the .455 Webley bullet was fired? Did he know if the gunpowder in the shell was modern powder or an earlier mixture?

There are quite a few possibilities on the type of pistol that fired this round:

Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver (introduced 1901)
Webley Royal Irish Constabulary Model Revolver
Webley Mark VI No. 1 British Service Revolver(introduced 1915)
Webley & Scott Mark I Automatic Pistol (introduced 1911)
Webley & Scott Mark I  No. 2 Automatic Pistol (introduced 1915)
Webley & Scott Mark III Government Model (introduced 1896)

If I remember correctly the Webley & Scott Mark III did not use modern powder which gave it enormous stopping power. If Rasputin did not have the back of his skull blown out by the exiting bullet, I would say that modern powder must have been used. By the way there was no mention in your programme about the bullet in Rasputin's forehead exiting, did it exit the skull? I would be absolutely surprised to learn that a .455 caliber bullet did not exit the skull. No matter how mystical the man may have been physics are physics!

Best wishes,

David

Offline Richard_Cullen

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As a result we conclude tRe: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2005, 03:02:04 AM »
David,

the best anybody can do from the pictures of the autopsy - my work as well as Pounder's is that it is a .445 and Pounder suggests and I agree jacketed.

We simply do not know that the bullet did not pass through the head - having seen all the autopsy photographs there are none of the back of his head.

Zharov concludes

'As a result we conclude that the shot into the head was fired at a close range (there appears to be a round ďstand markĒ on the wound from the muzzle of the gun). Prof. Kossorotov does not mention in his report the bullet coming out of the head and there are no images of the back of the head on the photographs.'

But we do not have photographs of teh crushed testicles either nor some of the other injuries referred to by Kossorotv.

Autopsy photographs do show considerable matting of the hair at the back of the head and it is possible no photograph of the back of the head was taken because it was too unpleasnat.

That being said and whereas I would normally anticipate such a bullet passing through the head and causing sugnificant damage to the back of the head - as I would if it was a Browning or Sauvage I have photographs of similar foirearm contact wounds to the ehad where the bullet has not passed through the back of the head and caused the damage that one might normally expect.

I think if you read Greg and Penny's book FOTR who will find some graphic descriptions of head wounds caused my a Mauser from a greater distance than contact range.

Richard

I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all, but he, departed!
Refrain:
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumberís chain hath bound me,
Sad memíry brings the light
Of other days around me.

Thomas Moore 1815

David_Pritchard

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2005, 04:11:03 AM »
Dear Richard,

Very interesting information. Do we know what Rasputin's skull shape was? I think if he had the 'Caucasian' skull shape then the bullet would have exited through the back of the skull had it been the high velocity poweder .455 cartridge or the low velocity .455 cartridge. But it would appear from photographs that Rasputin had a long face with a low jaw which would have necessitated an occipital bun for balance. Could it be that a low velocity round would have been cought and deflected within the skull by the curvature of the occiput?

David

Offline Richard_Cullen

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2005, 05:16:32 AM »
The autopsy pictures even with magnification are poor, and I have worked with them every way possible on the computer.

We don't know as we would know now the thickness of the skull.  Kossorotov interestingly says that R must have been lying down when the shot to the head was administered.  Now was this because there was debris matted into the hair at the back of the head where the skull and brain matter had exploded outwards - it is possible.  Zharov makes comment that we do not have a picture of the back of the head.

Of course, as I have suggested before Kossorotov may have made assumptions around how the shots were fired on the basis of the tale of the murder already circulating in St Petersburg almost immediately after the murder - the Y and P versions.

Why else in what appeared to be a death by shooting and or violent assault would the pathologist particularly consider poisoning when he hasn't invetsigated other aspects around injuries etc.

That being said he does make the point that the bullet to the left front side of the body and to the right rear of the body were fired at close range - however quite rightly he is unable to state the order of the shots.  I think we maight assume from his analysis that either of those wounds would have been fatal within 15-20 actually in derieved from the Y and P story that he got up and ran into the yard - although the fact that shots one and two were fired from close range means that Y and P's story could not be correct.

The nail in the coffin for the Y and P stories is the head shot being fired at contact range and as Zharov says the tell tale 'standsmark' is there for everyone to see.

So the long and the short of it is I don't know but I have been around forensic medicine and dealt with enough murders to know that whatever the science of gun shot wounds you can never rely on the actual damage to the body being as one would anticipate.

I dealt with a double drug related torture and assasination in 1982 - head shots, contact range - one bullet passed through the head the other didn't - father and son, indentical build etc.

Richard
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all, but he, departed!
Refrain:
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumberís chain hath bound me,
Sad memíry brings the light
Of other days around me.

Thomas Moore 1815

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Rasputin show tonight
« Reply #29 on: October 13, 2005, 06:10:12 PM »
What, then, was Felix Yussupov's motivation for concocting such an elaborate murder story -- outright drama for drama's sake, or was he covering for someone?
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