I was attempting to learn a bit more about how Rasputin was actually murdered, since there are an insane amount of rumors about the subject, and found a few paragraphs that explain his name.
I wouldn't have thought anything of this, but apparently there are also rumors that Rasputin means "licentious," so I figured it might be fun to read a bit more. In Russian, there is a similar adjective, rasputny (распутный) which actually does mean "licentious," in addition to the corresponding noun, rasputnik (распутник). Some also say that this means "dissolute." However, there are also two possible root-words: put or "way," and rasputye or rasputitsa (распутица), which can refer to a place where the roads converge or "muddy road season."
On the other hand, some historians argue that Rasputin refers to a geographical location, in that it can also refer to a place where two rivers meet. Rasputin's family originated from an area that can be described as such.
A third possibility is that the aforementioned put, or "way," may result in the verb putat ("to entangle") and its antonym rasputat ("to disentangle").
Finally, the most popular explanation is that the word is a deviation from the old Slavic name "Rasputa" that dates back to at least the 16th century. This term generally means "ill-behaved child," or one whose ways are against the actions of parents.
As a side note, it is mentioned that Rasputin tried to have his name changed to Novykh (Новых) after his first pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Novykh, from the adjective for "new," implies "novice."
Recording for Unit 4 (with Collin Dougher):
Dialogue from Page 112, 4-9, Number 1