OUR DUMB CENTURY REPORTS FROM THE FRONTIERS OF HISTORY

Russians continuing to kill Rasputin Hirsute mystic to reach demise `no later than 1925', say assassins

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FROM THE Moscow correspondent, 15 Mar - Former members of the Russian aristocracy are continuing, for the seventh straight year, to kill Grigoriy Rasputin, hypnotist, healer, and counsel to former tsar Nicholas II.

"In the first year, we commenced with our plan to poison him, shoot him, stab him, and then drown him in the Neva River," said Prince Felix Yusupov, leader of the aristocrats charged with killing the charismatic mystic. "But those efforts met with fair to middling success, as Rasputin continued to stay alive."

AN INVOLVED PROJECT!

In 1917 alone, the Kill Rasputin Project conceived of attempts to speed up the process, such as encasing his head in solid iron, repeated electrocutions, two beheadings, and a burial.

Yusupov recalls: "It was in 1919, at the Kill Rasputin Project holiday staff party, that someone came up with the idea of chopping his body into hundreds of little pieces and scattering them across the Russian countryside."

The chopping up of Rasputin, for a short time, seemed to be succeeding, until word reached the project's headquarters that Rasputin had been seen cavorting with Russian farm ladies, coercing them into unsavoury relations using his strange and irresistible charm.

ALMOST DEAD!

In later years, Rasputin was set on fire, dissolved in acid, boiled alive, flensed, fed molten lead, ground beneath the wheels of a freight train, thrown from the top of St Basil's Cathedral, impaled on sharpened stakes, buried under 10 tons of hot gravel, struck at high speeds by an automobile, strapped to the mouth of a great cannon which was then fired several times, bolted to the keel of an icebreaking ship which was repeatedly run aground, drawn and quartered, crucified, run through with a cavalry spear from bowel to gullet, vivisected, and eviscerated. Furthermore, throughout the process, he was continually re-poisoned, re-stabbed and re-shot.

"We're making excellent progress," Yusupov said. "This trickster's mysterious influence over the now-dead czar will soon come to an end. It is only a matter of time."

The team expects Rasputin's death to take place no later than 1925.

`Our Dumb Century', edited by Scott Dikkers, published on 23 July by Boxtree, pounds 9.99

NEXT WEEK: THE `TITANIC'

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