In the years leading up to World War I in the early 20th century, the ruling family of the Old Russian Empire were known to have gained the services of a self-professed monk healer to heal the sickly Crown Prince. This arrangement allegedly grew into a position of power for the mystic, Grigori Rasputin, who was then able to manipulate state affairs until the Russian Czar called for his death. Not long afterwards however the Imperial Family would be ousted from power and murdered, with the Empire being transformed into the Communist Soviet Union until 1991.
Now, it’s not so difficult to look at this story of a head of state rumored to be colluding with a supposedly mystical confidant who is publicly seen to be unduly influencing a world leader’s policies, and drawing a parallel from Czar Nicholas II and Rasputin to South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Choi Soon-sil, a shamanistic cult leader and personal friend of Park’s who is being prosecuted for allegations that she had steered the president’s and therefore South Korea’s policy-making for much of Park’s administration.
CNN reports that the president herself has gone on stage Thursday November 3 to address the nation following the eruption of this scandal. In her statement Park announced that she is holding herself responsible for the political mess-up she has found herself in. Although she maintains, as a publicly avowed atheist, that she has not joined the Eternal Life Church run by Choi, Park freely admits that she is culpable for gross negligence in her duty and personal correspondence with the cult leader. "All of this happening is my fault,” she said." I have already instructed Blue House secretary's office and security office to co-operate fully with the prosecutor's investigation. If it is necessary, I, too, am ready to co-operate to the prosecutor's investigation."
As it stands, Park could be charged of letting Choi, whose father and predecessor as cult leader had himself been a good friend of Park’s father former President Park Chung-hee, have privy access to drafts of her presidential speeches and other government documentation, all of which ought to have been classified and restricted to Choi who didn’t have an official post in the administration.
Furthermore, Choi is under scrutiny by South Korean media and Park’s political opposition for allegedly funneling millions of dollars in donations to her charitable foundations from government sources due to her ties to Park. The scandal was first thrown into the spotlight by news network JTBC revealing a throwaway tablet computer full of copies of classified government files being sent to Choi.
While Park has been trying to reestablish control over her government, the South Korean public have taken to the streets calling for her resignation due to the “Korean Rasputin”.
Photo Credit to http://www.straitstimes.com/