Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

The Murder of Rasputin: The “Whodunnit” of the 20th Century


Price for Members: $20.00
Price for Non-Members: $20.00
Date/Time: Monday, September 25th 1:00-2:30pm 

Instructor: Asya M. Pereltsvaig, Ph.D., McGill Univ., B.A. Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem, Stanford Univ. Dept. of Linguistics
Location: Online/Zoom-NOT Recorded


Course Description

On the night of December 16, 1916, a group of conspirators murdered Grigori Rasputin, Russia’s “Mad Monk”. While meant to strengthen the Romanov dynasty, this murder brought on their downfall merely two months later and ushered in a year of two revolutions that ended with the Bolshevik takeover of Russia and the eventual murder of the Tsar and his family. In many ways, Russia and the rest of the world are still dealing with the consequences of that murder. Most narratives in books, films and even songs about the murder of Rasputin focus on the victim, whereas this interactive conversation will shed new light on the perpetrators of the crime. Who were these men who assembled on that fateful night in the Yusupov Palace in Saint Petersburg and what motivated them to commit that heinous crime? What did the rich debonair Feliks Yusupov have in common with the goggle-eyed, middle-class Englishman Oswald Rayner? What brought the Tsar’s cousin Dmitry Pavlovich and the Duma deputy Vladimir Purishkevich to join the conspirators? Who provided the cyanide to be used in the murder and who shot the fatal shot? How did these men’s lives unfold after the murder of Rasputin? Our story will take us not only to the magnificent Yusupov Palace in Saint Petersburg, but also to the Yusupovs’ estates outside of Moscow and in Crimea, as well as to Oxford, Malta and Paris.

(Online/Zoom) NOT RECORDED 


Additional information

Course Term

Fall 2023

Day of the Week


Event Type



Asya Pereltsvaig, PhD, McGill University, BA, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Stanford University, Linguistics



Event Details

Date: 2023-09-25

Start time: 01:00 p.m.

End time: 02:30 p.m.

Venue: Zoom


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