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Rasputins Notoriety Dismays Relative

Published: September 6, 2005 (Issue # 1102)


He is either demonized or deified and my mission is to try and make his image look more human, more normal, if you like, says Laurence Huot-Solovieff, 62, one of the four great-grandchildren of Grigory Rasputin to come from his legal marriage, and the only of his surviving descendants to have traveled to Russia.

Interviewed in St. Petersburgs Astoria hotel on Monday, Huot-Solovieff, who grew up in France, put the wild-eyed mystic who some felt ruled the country during World War I in a positive light.

Rasputin had gained the confidence of Tsarina Alexandra because he could soothe the ailing Tsarevich Alexis. This ability gained him access to and influence with the family of the last tsar, Nicholas II.

It also generated hatred among courtiers, who plotted his demise and eventually murdered him.

On this, her fifth trip to Russia since she first visited in 1992, Rasputins great granddaughter traveled for the first time to her notorious ancestors home village of Pokrovskoye in Siberia.

It is only now that I have been there that things finally came together with what my grandmother was telling me about him: I have heard the locals call him a simple man with big heart and strong spiritual power, who loved Russia, the God and the tsar, Huot-Solovieff said. This was exactly what I was told at home by my grandmother Matryona.

Matryona, a dancer with the Barnum circus, was the only descendant of the doomed man to use his family name. It helped boost her artistic career in Los Angeles.

I dont think it would be a right thing for us to use his name now and in our circumstance: I find it too provocative, Huot-Solovieff said. There is too much hatred of his name and too many people would see red if they heard it.

Rasputins name is surrounded by numerous myths, legends and speculations. International experts still debate his healing powers and political weight, producing controversial reports.

Huot-Solovieff has never questioned that Rasputin had the power of healing. If he was no help to tsarevich Alexei to cure his hemophilia, he would have never been able to be so welcomed by the tsar, she said. This is pure logic but there is also enough evidence.

Huot-Solovieff feels very close to St. Petersburg, but said some places are too painful for her to visit.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburgs showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literatures most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poets birthday. The tragic tenors work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russias greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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