The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

September 27, 2016

September 27, 1977

This blog is not about Grigori Raspustin, the peasant monk who some say destroyed the Romanoff monarchy. It is not about the man murdered by an aristocrat, who felt this deed necessary to save the Russian homeland. It is about Rasputin's daughter Maria (1898 or 1899 to September 27, 1977).

We are indebted to Atlas Obscura for the story:

The Imperial Family stuck by the sisters, [after their father Rasputin was murdered in 1916] and they spent many hours at Tsarskoye Selo with the royal children. But, soon this safety net was ripped away as well, when the long brewing Russian civil war began. On her last visit to the palace, Maria remembered the cold but kindly Empress telling them, “Go my children, leave us, leave us quickly, we are being imprisoned.”

Maria and Varvara escaped to their mother’s home in Pokrovskoe. In 1917, Maria married her “dear friend,” Boris Soloviev, a man of questionable character [--he studied among other things, theosophy--] who many considered her father’s successor. The couple lived a chaotic, fugitive existence, attempting to save the royal family from their imprisonment in Siberia, and constantly on the run from the Red Army. ...[a life which turned into a restless exile like that of many Russians then.]

[Her husband Boris died in 1926, after other family members were also dead.]

Maria was alone, but at least she was alive. The entire family of Nicholas and Alexandra had been murdered at Yekaterinburg’s Ipatiev House, the “house of special purpose,” in 1918. Her mother and brother disappeared into the Soviet gulags of Siberia. Her sister, Varvara, died in Moscow in 1924–some said of starvation, others said of poison. But Maria soldiered on, supporting her daughters as a lady’s maid and companion to a rich Russian exile.

[Then Maria found work as a cabaret dancer]... allowing herself to be billed as “the daughter of the mad monk.” In 1929, she published her first book, The Real Rasputin, a strongly worded defense of her father.

Soon Maria took on another career- that of an animal trainer in a traveling circus. With her characteristic sense of humor, Maria said: “They ask me if I mind to be in a cage with animals, and I answer, ‘Why not? I have been in a cage with Bolsheviks.’” She also published another book about Rasputin, 1932’s My Father. ....

She traveled in the United States as part of Ringling Brothers circus in 1935. Here is a poster:

Maria officially immigrated to America in 1937 (her daughters stayed in Europe) and gave up her circus career after being badly mauled by a bear.

Following a career of odd jobs, which included getting paid for interviews, she settled in Los Angeles, in a neighborhood with a large Russian population, with quiet happiness.

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