Felix Yusupov was born in Saint Petersburg on 23rd March, 1886. His family, who owned a large number profitable mines and fur trading posts, were extremely rich. In 1909 he moved to Oxford where he studied at University College. He was also a member of the Bullingdon Club and established the Oxford University Russian Society.
On 22nd February 1914 Yusupov married Irina Romanov, the niece of Nicholas II, in Anichkov Palace. As the author of Rasputin (2010) has pointed out: "The Yusupov family was allegedly the wealthiest in Russia... He was the sole surviving male heir to the Yusupov family's fortune. His elder brother by five years, Nikolai, had been killed in a duel some years previously."
During the First World War Yusupov converted a wing of his Moika Palace into a hospital for wounded soldiers. As an only son he was able to avoid joining the armed forces. He did enter the Cadet Corps and took an officer's training course, but had no intention of joining a regiment. His behaviour was criticised by other members of the Royal Court. The Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna commented that he was "virtually doing nothing; an utterly unpleasant impression he makes - a man idling in such times."
In 1915 Maurice Paléologue, the French ambassador in Moscow commented: "Prince Feliks Yusupov is twenty-nine and gifted with quick wits and aesthetic tastes; but his dilettantism is rather too prone to perverse imaginings and literary representations of vice and death." Like many members of the Royal Court, Yusupov objected to the influence that Grigory Rasputin had over the Tsar and his wife, Alexandra Fedorovna.
However, Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich, suggested in his diary that Yusupov was having a homosexual relationship with Rasputin: "Felix Yusupov laid out the whole story for me. Rasputin had taken a liking to him at once... and soon afterwards came to trust him, to trust him completely. They saw each other almost every other day and talked about everything and Rasputin initiated him into his schemes, not being shy at all about such revelations.... It remains to propose something rather incredible, and that is that (Rasputin) was infatuated with and had a carnal passion for Felix that darkened the strapping peasant and libertine and led him to his grave. Did they realty just talk during their endless conversations. I'm convinced there were physical manifestations of friendship in the form of kisses, mutual touching, and it may be, even something more cynical. Rasputin's sadism is not open to doubt. But just how great Felix's carnal perversions were is still little understood by me, although before his marriage there were rumours in society about his lasciviousness."
In September, 1915, Nicholas II assumed supreme command of the Russian Army fighting on the Eastern Front. As he spent most of his time at GHQ, Alexandra Fedorovna now took responsibility for domestic policy. Rasputin served as her adviser and over the next few months she dismissed ministers and their deputies in rapid succession. Alexander Kerensky complained that: "The Tsarina's blind faith in Rasputin led her to seek his counsel not only in personal matters but also on questions of state policy. General Alekseyev, held in high esteem by Nicholas II, tried to talk to the Tsarina about Rasputin, but only succeeded in making an implacable enemy of her. General Alexseyev told me later about his profound concern on learning that a secret map of military operations had found its way into the Tsarina's hands. But like many others, he was powerless to take any action."
Rumours began to circulate that Grigory Rasputin and Tsarina Alexandra Fedorovna were leaders of a pro-German court group and were seeking a separate peace with the Central Powers in order to help the survival of the autocracy in Russia. Michael Rodzianko, the President of theDuma, toldNicholas II: "I must tell Your Majesty that this cannot continue much longer. No one opens your eyes to the true role which this man (Rasputin) is playing. His presence in Your Majesty's Court undermines confidence in the Supreme Power and may have an evil effect on the fate of the dynasty and turn the hearts of the people from their Emperor". Rasputin was also suspected of financial corruption and right-wing politicians believed that he was undermining the popularity of the regime.
On 21st November 1916, Vladimir Purishkevich, the leader of the monarchists in the Duma, wrote to Yusupov: "I'm terribly busy working on a plan to eliminate Rasputin. That is simply essential now, since otherwise everything will be finished... You too must take part in it. Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov knows all about it and is helping. It will take place in the middle of December, when Dmitri comes back... Not a word to anyone about what I've written." Yusupov replied: "Many thanks for your mad letter. I could not understand half of it, but I can see that you are preparing for some wild action.... My chief objection is that you have decided upon everything without consulting me... I can see by your letter that you are wildly enthusiastic, and ready to climb up walls... Don't you dare do anything without me, or I shall not come at all!"
Eventually, Yusupov, Vladimir Purishkevich, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov, Dr. Stanislaus de Lazovert and Lieutenant Sergei Mikhailovich Sukhotin, an officer in the Preobrazhensky Regiment, developed a conspiracy to kill Grigory Rasputin. Yusupov later admitted in Lost Splendor (1953) that on 29th December, 1916, Rasputin was invited to his home: "The bell rang, announcing the arrival of Dmitrii Pavlovich Romanov and my other friends. I showed them into the dining room and they stood for a little while, silently examining the spot where Rasputin was to meet his end. I took from the ebony cabinet a box containing the poison and laid it on the table. Dr Lazovert put on rubber gloves and ground the cyanide of potassium crystals to powder. Then, lifting the top of each cake, he sprinkled the inside with a dose of poison, which, according to him, was sufficient to kill several men instantly. There was an impressive silence. We all followed the doctor's movements with emotion. There remained the glasses into which cyanide was to be poured. It was decided to do this at the last moment so that the poison should not evaporate and lose its potency. We had to give the impression of having just finished supper for I had warned Rasputin that when we had guests we took our meals in the basement and that I sometimes stayed there alone to read or work while my friends went upstairs to smoke in my study."
Vladimir Purishkevich supported this story in his book, The Murder of Rusputin (1918): "We sat down at the round tea table and Yusupov invited us to drink a glass of tea and to try the cakes before they had been doctored. The quarter of an hour which we spent at the table seemed like an eternity to me.... Once we finished our tea, we tried to give the table the appearance of having been suddenly left by a large group frightened by the arrival of an unexpected guest. We poured a little tea into each of the cups, left bits of cake and pirozhki on the plates, and scattered some crumbs among several of the crumpled table napkins.... Once we had given the table the necessary appearance, we got to work on the two plates of petits fours. Yusupov gave Dr Lazovert several pieces of the potassium cyanide and he put on the gloves which Yusupov had procured and began to grate poison into a plate with a knife. Then picking out all the cakes with pink cream (there were only two varieties, pink and chocolate), he lifted off the top halves and put a good quantity of poison in each one, and then replaced the tops to make them look right. When the pink cakes were ready, we placed them on the plates with the brown chocolate ones. Then, we cut up two of the pink ones and, making them look as if they had been bitten into, we put these on different plates around the table."
Yusupov added: "It was agreed that when I went to fetch Rasputin, Dmitrii, Purishkevich and Sukhotin would go upstairs and play the gramophone, choosing lively tunes. I wanted to keep Rasputin in a good humour and remove any distrust that might be lurking in his mind." Stanislaus de Lazovert now went to fetch Rasputin in the car. "At midnight the associates of the Prince concealed themselves while I entered the car and drove to the home of the monk. He admitted me in person. Rasputin was in a gay mood. We drove rapidly to the home of the Prince and descended to the library, lighted only by a blazing log in the huge chimney-place. A small table was spread with cakes and rare wines - three kinds of the wine were poisoned and so were the cakes. The monk threw himself into a chair, his humour expanding with the warmth of the room. He told of his successes, his plots, of the imminent success of the German arms and that the Kaiser would soon be seen in Petrograd. At a proper moment he was offered the wine and the cakes. He drank the wine and devoured the cakes. Hours slipped by, but there was no sign that the poison had taken effect. The monk was even merrier than before. We were seized with an insane dread that this man was inviolable, that he was superhuman, that he couldn't be killed. It was a frightful sensation. He glared at us with his black, black eyes as though he read our minds and would fool us."
Vladimir Purishkevich later recalled that Yusupov joined them upstairs and exclaimed: "It is impossible. Just imagine, he drank two glasses filled with poison, ate several pink cakes and, as you can see, nothing has happened, absolutely nothing, and that was at least fifteen minutes ago! I cannot think what we can do... He is now sitting gloomily on the divan and the only effect that I can see of the poison is that he is constantly belching and that he dribbles a bit. Gentlemen, what do you advise that I do?" Eventually it was decided that Yusupov should go down and shoot Rasputin.
According to Yusupov's account: "Rasputin stood before me motionless, his head bent and his eyes on the crucifix. I slowly raised the crucifix. I slowly raised the revolver. Where should I aim, at the temple or at the heart? A shudder swept over me; my arm grew rigid, I aimed at his heart and pulled the trigger. Rasputin gave a wild scream and crumpled up on the bearskin. For a moment I was appalled to discover how easy it was to kill a man. A flick of a finger and what had been a living, breathing man only a second before, now lay on the floor like a broken doll."
Stanislaus de Lazovert agrees with this account except that he was uncertain who fired the shot: "With a frightful scream Rasputin whirled and fell, face down, on the floor. The others came bounding over to him and stood over his prostrate, writhing body. We left the room to let him die alone, and to plan for his removal and obliteration. Suddenly we heard a strange and unearthly sound behind the huge door that led into the library. The door was slowly pushed open, and there was Rasputin on his hands and knees, the bloody froth gushing from his mouth, his terrible eyes bulging from their sockets. With an amazing strength he sprang toward the door that led into the gardens, wrenched it open and passed out." Lazovert added that it was Vladimir Purishkevich who fired the next shot: "As he seemed to be disappearing in the darkness, Purishkevich, who had been standing by, reached over and picked up an American-made automatic revolver and fired two shots swiftly into his retreating figure. We heard him fall with a groan, and later when we approached the body he was very still and cold and - dead."
Yusupov later recalled: "On hearing the shot my friends rushed in. Rasputin lay on his back. His features twitched in nervous spasms; his hands were clenched, his eyes closed. A bloodstain was spreading on his silk blouse. A few minutes later all movement ceased. We bent over his body to examine it. The doctor declared that the bullet had struck him in the region of the heart. There was no possibility of doubt: Rasputin was dead. We turned off the light and went up to my room, after locking the basement door."
The Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov drove the men to Varshavsky Rail Terminal where they burned Rasputin's clothes. "It was very late and the grand duke evidently feared that great speed would attract the suspicion of the police." They also collected weights and chains and returned to Yuspov's home. At 4.50 a.m. Dimitri drove the men and Rasputin's body to Petrovskii Bridge. that crossed towards Krestovsky Island. According to Vladimir Purishkevich: "We dragged Rasputin's corpse into the grand duke's car." Purishkevich claimed he drove very slowly: "It was very late and the grand duke evidently feared that great speed would attract the suspicion of the police." Stanislaus de Lazovert takes up the story when they arrived at Petrovskii: "We bundled him up in a sheet and carried him to the river's edge. Ice had formed, but we broke it and threw him in. The next day search was made for Rasputin, but no trace was found."
Rasputin's body was found on 19th December by a river policeman who was walking on the ice. He noticed a fur coat trapped beneath, approximately 65 metres from the bridge. The ice was cut open and Rasputin's frozen body discovered. The post mortem was held the following day. Major-General Popel carried out the investigation of the murder. By this time Dr. Stanislaus de Lazovert and Lieutenant Sergei Mikhailovich Sukhotin had fled from the city. He did interview Yusupov, Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov and Vladimir Purishkevich, but he decided not to charge them with murder.
Tsar Nicholas II ordered the three men to be expelled from Petrograd. He rejected a petition to allow the conspirators to stay in the city. He replied that "no one had the right to commit murder." Sophie Buxhoeveden later commented: "Though patriotic feeling was supposed to have been the motive of the murder, it was the first indirect blow at the Emperor's authority, the first spark of insurrection. In short, it was the application of lynch law, the taking of law and judgment forcibly into private hands."
Yusupov was distressed by the events of the Russian Revolution. "One day a detachment of soldiers came to occupy my house. I showed them over it, and tried to make them understand that it was more fitted to be a museum than a barracks. They went away without pressing the point, but obviously meaning to come back. A few days later, on leaving my room I stumbled over the bodies of some soldiers sleeping, fully armed, and on the marble floor. An officer came up to me and said that he had been ordered to guard my house. I did not like this at all; it meant that the Bolsheviks considered me a sympathizer, which was a compliment I did not appreciate in the least. I decided to leave immediately for the Crimea."
Felix and his wife Irina Romanov Yusupov managed to escape to France and in 1920 they purchased a house on the Rue Gutenberg in Boulogne-sur-Seine. Later they moved to the United States. In 1927 Yusupov joined forces with Oswald Rayner to translate his book, Rasputin: His Malignant Influence and his Assassination, into English. In the book Yusupov boasted that he had killed Rasputin.
In 1932 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer brought out a film Rasputin and the Empress. In the film, the character, Prince Paul Chegodieff, was clearly based on Yusupov. He became very angry when Chedodieff's wife is shown being seduced by Rasputin. The Yusupovs sued MGM and in 1934, the Yusupovs were awarded £25,000 damages. The disclaimer which now appears at the end of every American film, "The preceding was a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual people or events is entirely coincidental" first appeared as a result of the legal precedent set by the Yusupov case.
In his memoirs, Lost Splendor, published in 1953, Yusupov described in detail how he murdered Gregory Rasputin. This resulted in Rasputin's daughter Maria taking Yusupov to a Paris court for damages of $800,000. The French court ruled that it had no jurisdiction over a political killing that took place in Russia.
In 2010 Michael Smith, the author of Six: A History of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (2010), argued that Rasputin was assassinated by MI6 and that one of their agents, Oswald Rayner, was the man who killed him. This account is supported by Richard Cullen's book, Rasputin: The Role of Britain's Secret Service in his Torture and Murder (2010), who names Rayner, John Scale and Stephen Alley as being the agents involved in the killing.
Prince Feliks Yusupov is twenty-nine and gifted with quick wits and aesthetic tastes; but his dilettantism is rather too prone to perverse imaginings and literary representations of vice and death. So I am afraid that he has regarded the murder of Rasputin mainly as a scenario worthy of his favourite author, Oscar Wilde. In any case his instincts, countenance and manner make him much closer akin to the hero of Dorian Grey than to Brutus or Lorenzaccio
The war with Japan, one of the most terrible blunders made during the reign of Nicholas II, had disastrous consequences and marked the beginning of our misfortunes. Russia was not prepared for war, and those who encouraged the Tsar in his purpose betrayed their Sovereign as well as their country. Russia's enemies took advantage of the general dissatisfaction to set the Government and the masses against each other.
In 1906 strikes broke out almost everywhere; there were several attempts on the lives of members of the Imperial family and of high government officials. The Tsar was forced to compromise and give the country a constitutional government by establishing the Duma. The Tsarina violently opposed this; she did not realize the seriousness of the situation, and would not admit that there was no other solution.
The Duma opened on April 27th, 1906. This was a moment of great anxiety for all, as everyone knew the Duma was a two-edged sword which could prove either helpful or disastrous to Russia, according to the course of events.
If all members of the Duma had been loyal Russians actuated only by patriotic motives, the Assembly might have done great service to the Government; but certain questionable and destructive elements - among which were many Jews - made it a hotbed of revolutionary ideas.
The military campaigns had opened brilliantly by a deep break-through into East Prussia; the offensive was launched prematurely at the demand of the Allies to relieve the congested Western front. At the end of August, through lack of ordnance, General Samsonoff's army corps was surrounded near Tannenberg. The General, not wishing to survive the loss of his army, shot himself.
The offensive was successfully renewed on the Austrian front, but in February 1915 a further offensive in East Prussia ended in the disaster of Augustovo. On May 2nd, the Austro-German army broke through the South-Western Russian front. Our troops were underfed, ill-equipped, and had no ammunition, yet under these appalling conditions they fought against the best-equipped army in the world. Whole regiments were taken prisoner without having a chance to resist, owing to the lack of equipment which failed to arrive in time.
I intended to receive Rasputin in the flat which I was fitting up in the Moika basement: arches divided it in two; the larger half was to be used as a dinning room. From the other half, a staircase... led to my rooms on the floor above. Halfway up was a door opening onto the courtyard... The walls were of grey stone, the flooring of granite. To avoid arousing Rasputin's suspicions - for he might have been surprised at being received in a bare cellar - it was indispensable that the room should be furnished and appeared to be lived in.
When I arrived, I found workmen busy laying down carpets and putting up curtains. Three large red Chinese porcelain vases had already been placed in niches hollowed out of the walls. Various objects which I had selected were being carried in: carved wooden chairs of oak, small tables covered with ancient embroideries, ivory bowels, and a quantity of other curios.
My two servants, Grigorii and Ivan, helped me to arrange the furniture. I asked them to prepare tea for six, to buy biscuits and cakes and to bring wine front the cellar. I told them that I was expecting some friends at eleven that evening, and that they could wait in the servants' hall until I rang for them....
Before going back to dine with my brothers-in-law, I went into the church of Our Lady of Kazan. Deep in prayer, I lost all sense of time. When I left the cathedral after what seemed to me but a few moments, I was astonished to find I had been there almost two hours. I had a strange feeling of lightness, of well-being, almost of happiness. I hurried to my father-in-law's palace where I had a light dinner before returning to the Moika.
By eleven o'clock everything was ready in the basement. Comfortably furnished and well lighted, this underground room had lost its grim look. On the table the samovar smoked, surrounded by plates filled with the cakes and dainties that Rasputin liked so much; an array of bottles and glasses stood on a sideboard. Ancient lanterns of' coloured glass lighted the room from the ceiling; the heavy red damask portieres were lowered. On the granite hearth, a log fire crackled and scattered sparks on the flagstones. One felt isolated from the rest of the world and it seemed as though, no matter what happened, the events of that night would remain forever buried in the silence of those thick walls.
The bell rang, announcing the arrival of Dmitrii Pavlovich Romanov and my other friends. I showed them into the dining room and they stood for a little while, silently examining the spot where Rasputin was to meet his end.
I took from the ebony cabinet a box containing the poison and laid it on the table. Dr Lazovert put on rubber gloves and ground the cyanide of potassium crystals to powder. Then, lifting the top of each cake, he sprinkled the inside with a dose of poison, which; according to him, was sufficient to kill several men instantly. There was an impressive silence. We all followed the doctor's movements with emotion. There remained the glasses into which cyanide was to be poured. It was decided to do this at the last moment so that the poison should not evaporate and lose its potency. We had to give the impression of having just finished supper for I had warned Rasputin that when we had guests we took our meals in the basement and that I sometimes stayed there alone to read or work while my friends went upstairs to smoke in my study. So we disarranged the table, pushed the chairs back and poured tea into the cups. It was agreed that when I went to fetch Rasputin, Dmitrii, Purishkevich and Sukhotin would go upstairs and play the gramophone, choosing lively tunes. I wanted to keep Rasputin in a good humour and remove any distrust that might be lurking in his mind.
I looked at my victim with dread, as he stood before me, quiet and trusting. What had become of his second-sight? What good did his gift of foretelling the future do him? Of what use was his faculty for reading the thoughts of others, if he was blind to the dreadful trap that was laid for him? It seemed as though fate had clouded his mind. But suddenly, in a lightening flash of memory, I seemed to recall every stage of Rasputin's infamous life. My qualms of conscience disappeared, making room for a firm determination to complete my task.
"Gregory Yefimovich," I said, "you'd better look at the crucifix and say a prayer." Rasputin cast a surprised, almost frightened glance at me. I read in it an expression which I had never known him to have: it was at once gentle and submissive. He came quite close to me and looked me full in the face.
I realized that the hour had come. "O Lord," I prayed, "give me the strength to finish it." Rasputin stood before me motionless, his head bent and his eyes on the crucifix. I slowly raised the crucifix. I slowly raised the revolver. Where should I aim, at the temple or at the heart? A shudder swept over me; my arm grew rigid, I aimed at his heart and pulled the trigger. Rasputin gave a wild scream and crumpled up on the bearskin. For a moment I was appalled to discover how easy it was to kill a man. A flick of a finger and what had been a living, breathing man only a second before, now lay on the floor like a broken doll.
On hearing the shot my friends rushed in. Rasputin lay on his back. His features twitched in nervous spasms; his hands were clenched, his eyes closed. A bloodstain was spreading on his silk blouse. A few minutes later all movement ceased. We bent over his body to examine it. The doctor declared that the bullet had struck him in the region of the heart. There was no possibility of doubt: Rasputin was dead. We turned off the light and went up to my room, after locking the basement door.
Our hearts were full of hope, for we were convinced that what had just taken place would save Russia and the dynasty from ruin and dishonour. As we talked I was suddenly filled with a vague misgiving; an irresistible impulse forced me to go down to the basement.
Rasputin lay exactly where we had left him. I felt his pulse: not a beat, he was dead. All of a sudden, I saw the left eye open. A few seconds later his right eyelid began to quiver, then opened. I then saw both eyes - the green eyes of a viper - staring at me with an expression of diabolical hatred. The blood ran cold in my veins. My muscles turned to stone.
Then a terrible thing happened: with a sudden violent effort Rasputin leapt to his feet, foaming at the mouth. A wild roar echoed through the vaulted rooms, and his hands convulsively thrashed the air. He rushed at me, trying to get at my throat, and sank his fingers into my shoulder like steel claws. His eyes were bursting from their sockets. By a superhuman effort I succeeded in freeing myself from his grasp.
"Quick, quick, come down!" I cried, "He's still alive." He was crawling on hands and knees, grasping and roaring like a wounded animal. He gave a desperate leap and managed to reach the secret door which led into the courtyard. Knowing that the door was locked, I waited on the landing above grasping my rubber club. To my horror I saw the door open and Rasputin disappear. Purishkevich sprang after him. Two shots echoed through the night. I heard a third shot, then a fourth. I saw Rasputin totter and fall beside a heap of snow.
At the same moment, the Grand Duke Dmitrii's car drew up at the little gate of the garden. Assisted by a servant on whom they could rely, the conspirators wrapped Rasputin in his cloak and even put on his overshoes, so that nothing incriminating should he left in the palace. They lifted the body into the car, in which the Grand Duke Dmitrii, Dr de Lazovert and Sukhotin quickly took their places. Then the car made for Krestovskii Island at full speed, Lazovert showing the way. Captain Sukhotin had explored the banks on the previous evening. On a signal from him, the car stopped by a small bridge below which the swift current had produced a mass of ice-floes with holes between them. Not without difficulty, the three accomplices carried their heavy victim to the edge of a hole and threw it in the water.
While this sinister task was in progress on Krestovskii Island, something happened at the palace on the Moika where Prince Feliks and Purishkevich had been left alone, and were occupied in feverishly obliterating all traces of the murder.
I spent hours painstakingly comparing the two alleged murderers' published versions of his demise and established numerous and significant discrepancies in what they said. I had to doubt whether they had been present at the same event or whether either of them had been present at all. Next I worked through the forensics and quickly dismantled the existing myths around his death. I found he was not poisoned, he did not drown and he was shot three times at close range, none of which fitted with the existing stories.
Gradually I was fed more information, including the 1993 assessment of the original post mortem by Professor Vladimir Iharov, head of the Forensic Medical Analysis Bureau and as such Russia's leading pathologist, together with two other esteemed pathologists. I then received the files from the Russian State Archive (GARF) about his death, including witness statements, and finally, while filming in St Petersburg, gained access to the original scene-of-crime photographs. I was given some information about British involvement and, just as I was about to do a piece to camera in the Astoria Hotel, was shown a letter from a SIS officer that implied British involvement in the murder.
My name is Matryona Grigoryevna Rasputina. I am nineteen years of age, and of Christian religion....
In response to the questions I state the following: on 16 December 1916 I left our apartment at 7 p.m. and returned around 11 p.m. When I was going to go to sleep my father told me that at night he was going to visit "the little one". My father meant Prince Yusupov; he always called him that. Later I went to sleep and did not see whether "the little one" arrived and whether he and my father left together. When my father told me about this visit to Yusupov he ordered me not to mention anything about it to Mariya Yevgenyevna Golovina (one of Rasputin's "admirers"). My father explained me that she might tag along with them and Yusupov did not want her to visit him.
In the morning of 17 December secret political police agents arrived at our apartment and started to ask where my father was. We became anxious and called Mariya Yevgenyevna. She told us that there was nothing to worry about if my father left with "the little one": they must be still asleep and Grigorii Yefimovich would return home soon. Mariya Yevgenyevna came to our place at 11 a.m., and there were many - visitors at our apartment by then. Not to make my father's disappearance public, Mariya Yevgenyevna and I went to a fruit shop and called Prince Yusupov from there, but he had left home already. About 12 noon or I p.m. Prince Yusupov telephoned our apartment. I recognised his voice. Mariya Yevgenyevna spoke to him in English. After that conversation she became extremely anxious and went home, telling us that the prince was going to visit her. In an hour my sister and I went to Mariya Yevgenyevna's apartment, where she told us that Prince Yusupov had sworn to her that he had not picked my father up and that my father had not visited him during the night of 17 December. Later she came to our apartment with her mother and they both cried.
I saw Prince Yusupov at our apartment only once - about five or six days ago, that must be around 12 December this year. The prince has the following distinctive features: taller than average, skinny, pale, long face, large circles under the eves, brown hair. I can't remember whether he has a moustache or a beard.
Mv name is Fyodor Antonovich Korshunov. I am thirty wars of age, and of Christian religion.... I reside at 64 Gorokhovaya Street, where I am employed as a yard keeper.
In response to the questions I state the following: on the night of 16-17 December I was on duty and was outside by the gates of the building. Soon alter 1 a.m. a large car arrived at the gates. The car was khaki in colour, had it canvas top and safety glass windows, and there was a spare tyre on the back. The car, which had come from the direction of the Fontanka River, reversed and stopped. A person unknown to me got out and went straight to the wicket gate. I asked who he was visiting and he responded, "Rasputin." I opened the gate and said to him, "Here is the front door," but the stranger said that he was going to go in through the back entrance. Then he swiftly went straight to that entrance. It was obvious that the person as familiar with the layout of the building. About thirty minutes later the stranger came out together with Rasputin. They got into the car and drove off towards the Fontanka. I had not seen that person before.
Distinctive features of the stranger: above average height, medium build, about thirty years of age, small black moustache, no beard, I think no glasses, was wearing a long expensive fur coat, with fur outside, and a black hat, which I did not see well. He was wearing high boots. The driver looked slightly older than the stranger, about thirty-five years of age, had a black rnedium-size moustache, no beard, was wearing a black coat with lambskin collar, fur hat and long red gloves. Having left, Rasputin has not returned home.
During the march an orderly came to inform me that General Krymov, who was marching at the head of our column, wanted me. I found him with our General Staff busily reading a letter which had just come. Whilst I was still some way off he called out to me: "Great news! At last they have killed that scoundrel Rasputin.!"
The newspapers announced the bare facts, letters from the capital gave the details. Of the three assassins, I knew two intimately. What had been their motive? Why, having killed a man whom they regarded as a menace to the country, had they not admitted their action before everyone? Why had they not admitted their action before everyone? Why had they not relied on justice and public opinion instead of trying to hide all trace of the murder by burying the body under the ice? we thought over the news with great anxiety.
The day after I arrived, the Provisional Government collapsed and the Bolshevik party, with Lenin and Trotsky at its head, assumed power. All government posts were instantly occupied by Jewish commissaries, more or less camouflaged under Russian names. Indescribable confusion reigned in the capital; bands of soldiers and sailors broke into people's houses, pillaging and murdering. The town was in the hands of a frenzied, bloodthirsty populace, eager for destruction.
One day a detachment of soldiers came to occupy my house. I showed them over it, and tried to make them understand that it was more fitted to be a museum than a barracks. They went away without pressing the point, but obviously meaning to come back.
A few days later, on leaving my room I stumbled over the bodies of some soldiers sleeping, fully armed, and on the marble floor. An officer came up to me and said that he had been ordered to guard my house. I did not like this at all; it meant that the Bolsheviks considered me a sympathizer, which was a compliment I did not appreciate in the least. I decided to leave immediately for the Crimea.