Rasputin Memorial Vandalized

Rasputin Memorial Vandalized

Published: September 26, 2012 (Issue # 1728)

Unidentified vandals attacked a wooden cross dedicated to Orthodox mystic Grigory Rasputin on the grounds of the Tsarskoye Selo former imperial estate outside St. Petersburg, a news report said Tuesday.

Security guards at the Tsarskoye Selo estate, now an open-air museum, told Interfax that the vandals had taken a saw to the memorial Monday and that the damaged cross had been moved to the museum for safekeeping.

The guards clarified that they were not responsible for looking after the memorial, as it was mysteriously erected on the edge of the estate seven years ago without the permission of museum authorities.

Rasputin, who acquired a reputation as a psychic and faith healer in the early 20th century and became a close adviser to the wife of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, is a controversial figure, and a definitive account of his murder in 1916 in St. Petersburg’s Yusupov Palace remains elusive to this day.

After his death, the imperial family allowed Rasputin to be buried in a bell tower on the Tsarskoye Selo estate, but his remains were later removed, burned and scattered elsewhere after the 1917 February Revolution.

Monday’s attack on the Rasputin memorial follows a spate of cross-felling episodes in recent weeks.

On Sept. 3, vandals chopped down one Orthodox cross in the Altai republic and nine in the Leningrad Oblast. None of the perpetrators have been identified.

In a separate incident, on Aug. 17 a bare-breasted activist from Ukrainian women’s rights group Femen chain-sawed through a wooden cross in Kiev in protest at the sentencing of three Russian punk rockers for criticizing authorities in Moscow’s main cathedral.

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