Amazing Story About Russian History. Born to a Siberian peasant family around 1869, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin received little schooling and probably never learned to read or write. In his early years, some people of his village said he possessed supernatural powers, while others cite examples of extreme cruelty. For a time, it was believed his name "Rasputin" meant "licentious" in Russian. Historians now believe that "Rasputin" meant "where two rivers meet," a phrase that describes an area near where he was born in Siberia. Rasputin entered the Verkhoture Monastery in Russia with the intention of becoming a monk, but left shortly thereafter, presumably to get married. At age 19, he wed Proskovia Fyodorovna, and they later had three children (two others died shortly after birth). In his early 20s, however, Rasputin left his family and traveled to Greece and the Middle East, making several pilgrimages to the Holy Land.