The Empress Alexandra was devastated by Rasputin’s death. He was the only man alive who could save Alexei and now he was gone.

It is unknown whether she considered the implications of a man known to be favored by her being murdered despite her protection. But looking back, it was another sign that the people were increasingly dismissive of the imperial Romanovs.

Nicholas had no military experience and the war was not going well. At the front, men starved; at home, women and children went hungry. The Romanovs, however, seemed oblivious. It is more likely that the tsar’s gestures that were meant to give courage were misplaced or misinterpreted by a struggling people. The pretty grand duchesses, the impressive uniforms, the picturesque photographs looked as though they were part of a different war than the one being fought by the Russian army.

tsar with his children
Grand Duchess Anastasia, Grand Duchess Olga, Tsar Nicholas, Tsarevich Alexei, Grand Duchess Tatiana, Grand Duchess Maria

 

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The National Institute of Hypnotism once declared Josef Stalin to be one of six people who possessed the most hypnotic eyes in the world, noting their sinister brutality.

Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili was about 34 when he began using the name Stalin, which translates roughly to Man of Steel. A bit grandiose, perhaps, for a man who was just 5’4, and – at that time – a fairly slender fellow.

This series of mugshots begins in 1901, when Stalin was a handsome, ex-seminary student, and documents his changing features in the subsequent years. By the time of the Russian Revolution, Josef Stalin looked to be, and was, a hardened Bolshevik, much respected by Vladimir Lenin for his merciless brutality.

 

1901 stalin

 

190x stalin2

 

1912 stalin

 

1908 stalin-arrested

 

 

Joseph Stalin's Mug Shots