Discussions about Russian History > Rasputin

Rasputin's Murder

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Sometimes when you are looking for something you find it right under your nose, as I did on Page 1 of this thread where 'Todd' posted a partial account of Professor Dmitry Korosotov's post mortem findings -

'There were a number of injuries, many of them caused post mortem.'

'''The right side of the head was shattered and flattened as a result of contusion to the body during its fall from the bridge.   Death followed resulting from abundant loss of blood from a wound to the stomach.   The shooting took place, as I concluded, from almost point blank range from the left to the right side through the stomach and liver shattering the right half of the liver.   There was a huge loss of blood.   A gunshot was also found in the back, in the area of the spinal column, which shattered the right kidney and another wound at point blank range in the forehead (as he lay dying or was already dead).....

'''.....In my opinion Grigory Rasputin was killed by gunshot wounds from a revolver.   One bullet was extracted, the other shots were made at close range and passed on through the body, so it was impossible to conclude how many people shot him.....

'''.....The smell of cognac exuded from his body.   His brain was normal in size and showed no signs whatsoever of any pathelogical aberrations.....'''

Kosorotov noted that Rasputin was fifty years old when he was murdered and he recalled that, during a break in the post mortem, they were having a cup of tea and, when discussing Rasputin, they all agreed he could have lived for another fifty years.

What happened to the bullet fired at point blank range into Rasputin's head.   Even I know, without reference to forensic experts, that an unjacketed bullet would have blasted off the back of Rasputin's skull and, along with it, most of his brain.   How, therefore, was Kosorotov able to report that Rasputin's brain was of normal size and showed no signs whatsoever of any pathelogical aberrations?

Korosotov recorded that, in his opinion, the serious damage inflicted to the right side of Rasputin's head was as a result of it coming into violent contact with the bridge post mortem.

'I have often had to conduct various and difficult and unpleasant autopsies.   I am a man of strong nerves who has seen just about everything there is to see.   But seldom have I experienced such unpleasant moments as happened during that terrible night.   The corpse made an unpleasant impression on me.   The reedy expression on his face and the huge wound on the head were difficult to look at even for experienced eyes.'

Kosorotov's conclusion is not at all surprising, that is if the wound had been at the back of the head and not on the right side as he records.

When Spiridovitch wrote that Rasputin was killed by the head bullet, he had no way of knowing.   Even the pathologist who carried out the post mortem could not confirm whether or not Rasput was alive or dead when that bullet was fired into his head.

On the 16th October 2005, Richard wrote - 'However, it seems the bullet did not pass through the head.'   Where, then, did the bullet go?

What conclusions do Professors Zhorov and Pounder draw from this aspect of Professor Kosorotov's report?


Yes, I too would like to know.


Oleg Shishkin published two books about Rasputin. In 2000: “To kill Rasputin” (Doesn’t the title sound familiar?), but the Cook-connection is worked out in his second: “Rasputin. The history of a crime” 2004. However, a principle role is reserved for Samuel Hoare. But the books follow more or less the lines of our discussion on this forum: the impossibility of the stories of the murder by Purishkevich and Yusupov, and possible British participation.
“To kill Rasputin”: This documental detective by O. Shishkin, based on new materials, tells about the unknown sides of Rasputin’s international activity, about his contacts with representatives of secret German societies, about the participation of the “holy starets” in a court-revolution, planned for end 1916, and discloses the mechanism of the attack on the favorite and the name of one of the murderers. In this book also the notes of the former chief of the Police Department S. P. Beletsky, a contemporary of Rasputin, as well as sensational archive documents”
“Rasputin. The history of a crime”: There is not one person in Russia, who has not heard something about the murder of Rasputin. Many books are dedicated to this theme, but do we know all about the circumstances of this crime? The motives are more or less clear, but what is known about the criminals? Who were they? Is their list complete? New details about the identification of the murderers of Rasputin you will find in this book by O. Shishkin “Rasputin. The history of a crime”

About the circumstances under which the autopsy by prof Kosorotov was performed, let me quote Shishkin, who quotes Samuel Hoare:
Oleg Shishkin: “To kill Rasputin” pp. 149-150
“All the actions by pathologist Kosorotov and special prosecutor Sereda, who was present at the autopsy, were followed by agents of Samuel Hoare. The British resident describes extensively the autopsy and all the difficulties involved in his coded report of February 5th: “Although the premises did have electricity, not one lamp was burning, and it was not possible to switch them on. The three policeman present said, that there was no light, because “the dead did not need light”. The prosecutor and chirurg explained, that they needed light. In the end they got two small lamps, that could be hung on the walls, and one policeman kept holding a lantern. After some time the pliceman told, that he felt unwell and was not able to hold the lantern any longer. So, Sereda and Kosorotov were left alone in a badly illuminated room. They noted, that, although Rasputin was 46 years old, he looked like being 36.”
This Shishkin quoted from S. Hoare: Das vierte Siegel. Das Ende eines russischen Kapitels. Meine Mission in Russland 1916/17. Berlin – Leipzig 1936  


I think Todd's posting is a very over egged version of what Kossorotov said, I will try and post the paper on the original PM later today - but I am afraid it is no where near as graphic or descriptive as the Todd posting and I use the version that Zharov has also used.

the problem is we have to yet again deconstruct the fiction of the autopsy, the various versions that have appeared and establish the facts.

We know the first bullet passed through the body, we are told the second (kidney shot) did not.  We can surmise that in the normal and expected event that the bullet to teh forehead would have passed through the brain.

I think there is a misread of what Kossorotov said, he says that individually the shots to the side and back would have been fatal, but someone might have been capable of movement after the shot until they bleed to death.  He says that the last shot would have been fatal and there could be no more activity.

he deos not assert that theinjuries to the face were all caused by hitting the bridge support and it is Zharov more than Kossorotov that explores this point.  Kossorotov states and zharov agrees that R was subject to an assault by a weapon ankin to a cosh.

'I, professor Kossorotov, declare that I have been to Fexamen and to the autopsy of Rasputin’s dead body, on 20th December 1916 at 10 o’clock in the evening, in the mortuary room of the Tchesma Hospice.  The body was recognised by his two daughters, his niece, his secretary and various witnesses.

The body is that of a man of about 50 years old, of medium size, dressed in blue embroidered hospital robe, which covers a white shirt.  His legs, in tall animal skin boots, are tied with a rope, and the same rope ties his wrists.  His dishevelled hair is light brown, as are his long moustache and beard, and it’s soaked with blood.  His mouth is half-open, his teeth clenched.  His face below his forehead is covered in blood.  His shirt too is also marked with blood.

There are three bullet wounds.

1)      the first has penetrated the left side of the chest and has gone through the stomach and the liver

2)      the second has entered into the right side of the back and gone through the kidney

3)      the third has hit the victim on the forehead and penetrated into his brain

Bullet analysis

The first two bullets hit the victim standing
The third bullet hit the victim while he was lying on the ground
The bullets came from different calibre revolvers

Examination of the Head

The cerebral matter gave off a strong smell of alcohol

Examination of the stomach

The stomach contains about twenty soup spoons of liquid smelling of alcohol.  The examination reveals no trace of poison


His left side has a weeping wound, due to some sort of slicing object or a sword.
His right eye has come out of its cavity and falls down onto his face.  At the corner of the right eye the membrane is torn.
His right ear in hanging down and torn
His neck has a wound from some sort of rope tie
The victim’s face and body carry traces of blows given by a supple but hard object
His genitals have been crushed by the action of a similar object

Causes of death
•      Haemorrhage caused by a wound to the liver and the wound to the right kidney must have started the rapid decline of his strength.
•       In this case, he would have died in ten or twenty minutes.  
•      At the moment of death the deceased was in a state of drunkenness.  The first bullet passed through the stomach and the liver.  This mortal blow had been shot from a distance of 20 centimetres.  
•      The wound on the right side, made at nearly exactly the same time as the first, was also mortal; it passed through the right kidney.  
•      The victim, at the time of the murder, was standing.  When he was shot in the forehead, his body was already on the ground.


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