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Douglas Smith | Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs

May 2, 2017

A century years after his murder, Rasputin continues to excite the popular imagination as the personification of evil. Numerous biographies, novels, and films recount his mysterious rise to power as Nicholas and Alexandra’s confidant and the guardian of the sickly heir to the Russian throne.

But as the prizewinning historian Douglas Smith shows, the true story of Rasputin’s life and death has remained shrouded in myth. In this lecture, Smith separates fact from fiction, drawing on his extensive archival research. In his book, “Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs,” Smith presents Rasputin in all his complexity — man of God, voice of peace, loyal subject, adulterer, drunkard.

Douglas Smith is the author of five books on Russia. He studied German and Russian at the University of Vermont and worked as a Russian-speaking guide on the US State Department’s exhibition, “Information USA,” during the 1980s. Smith worked as a Soviet affairs analyst for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, specializing in Russian nationalism and served as an interpreter for President Ronald Reagan.