It was almost three in the morning by the time I got home from the cabinet meeting at Prince Golytsin’s house. The ministers were in a state of great aggravation, and at the same time, clearly suffering from their awareness of the heavy responsibility which they bore for the current situation, seemed despondent, which I found rather dispiriting.
“My dear fellow, help if you can. Grigory Rasputin”
Armed with this recommendation, provincials would normally seek an audience with the minister in question, firmly convinced that their request would immediately be granted. How great was their astonishment when they were turned away, the intervention of the omnipotent “elder” notwithstanding!
People often claimed that his interventions were successful when it came to borderline cases; I never believed such claims, however, and, though I’d investigate these rumours from time to time, I never found any conclusive evidence of their truthfulness.
Almost half of the people who sought help from Rasputin were poverty-stricken and therefore hoped to get some kind of financial assistance from him – not unreasonably so, since Rasputin never refused to help folk out with money.
Simple peasants would often come to see him for no reason other than to satisfy their curiosity, eager to speak with a man who’d managed to gain access to the tsar’s court despite being a simple muzhik. Rasputin normally received them with great cordiality and discussed their affairs at length, unmindful of the fact that far more important individuals were thus being kept waiting.