Sergei Kirov

Sergei Kirov

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Sergei Kirov was born in Urzhum, Russia, on 15th March, 1886. His parents died when he was young and he was brought up by his grandmother until he was seven when he was sent to an orphanage.

In 1901 he attended the Kazan Technical School. During this period he became a Marxist and joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1904. He took part in the 1905 Revolution in St. Petersburg. He was arrested but was released after three months in prison. Kirov now joined the Bolshevik faction of the SDP. He lived in Tomsk where he was involved in the printing of revolutionary literature. He also helped to organize a successful strike of railway workers.

In 1906 Kirov moved to Moscow but he was soon arrested for printing illegal literature. Several of his comrades were executed but he was sentenced to three years in prison. Kirov later wrote: "The prison library was quite satisfactory, and in addition one was able to receive all the legal writings of the time. The only hindrances to study were the savage sentences of courts as a result of which tens of people were hanged. On many a night the solitary block of the Tomsk country prison echoed with condemned men shouting heart-rending farewells to life and their comrades as they were led away to execution. But in general, it was immeasurably easier to study in prison than as an underground militant at liberty."

The prison had a good library and during his stay he took the opportunity to improve his education. Kirov returned to revolutionary activity after his release and in 1915 he was once again arrested for printing illegal literature. After a year in custody he moved to the Caucasus. After the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in March, 1917, George Lvov was asked to head the new Provisional Government in Russia. Lvov allowed all political prisoners to return to their homes. Kirov joined the other Bolsheviks in now attempting to undermine the government.

After the Russian Revolution he became commander of the Bolshevik military administration in Astrakhan. He also fought in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War until the defeat of General Anton Denikin in 1920. The following year Kirov was put in charge of the Azerbaijan party organization.

Kirov loyally supported Joseph Stalin and in 1926 he was rewarded by being appointed head of the Leningrad party organization. He joined the Politburo in 1930 and now one of the leading figures in the party, and many felt that he was being groomed for the future leadership of the party by Stalin. However, this was not the case as Stalin saw him as a rival. As Edward P. Gazur has pointed out: "In sharp contrast to Stalin, Kirov was a much younger man and an eloquent speaker, who was able to sway his listeners; above all, he possessed a charismatic personality. Unlike Stalin who was a Georgian, Kirov was also an ethnic Russian, which stood in his favour."

Kirov loyally supported Joseph Stalin and in 1926 he was rewarded by being appointed head of the Leningrad party organization. Unlike Stalin who was a Georgian, Kirov was also an ethnic Russian, which stood in his favour."

In the summer of 1932 Martemyan Ryutin wrote a 200 page analysis of Stalin's policies and dictatorial tactics, Stalin and the Crisis of the Proletarian Dictatorship. Ryutin argues: "The party and the dictatorship of the proletariat have been led into an unknown blind alley by Stalin and his retinue and are now living through a mortally dangerous crisis. With the help of deception and slander, with the help of unbelievable pressures and terror, Stalin in the last five years has sifted out and removed from the leadership all the best, genuinely Bolshevik party cadres, has established in the VKP(b) and in the whole country his personal dictatorship, has broken with Leninism, has embarked on a path of the most ungovernable adventurism and wild personal arbitrariness."

Ryutin also wrote up a short synopsis of the work and called it a manifesto and circulated it to friends. General Yan Berzin obtained a copy and called a meeting of his most trusted staff to discuss and denounce the work. Walter Krivitsky remembers Berzen reading excerpts of the manifesto in which Ryutin called "the great agent provocateur, the destroyer of the Party" and "the gravedigger of the revolution and of Russia."

Stalin interpreted Ryutin's manifesto as a call for his assassination. When the issue was discussed at the Politburo, Stalin demanded that the critics should be arrested and executed. Stalin also attacked those who were calling for the readmission of Leon Trotsky to the party. Kirov, who up to this time had been a staunch Stalinist, argued against this policy. Gregory Ordzhonikidze, Stalin's close friend, also agreed with Kirov. When the vote was taken, the majority of the Politburo supported Kirov against Stalin.

On 22nd September, 1932, Martemyan Ryutin was arrested and held for investigation. During the investigation Ryutin admitted that he had been opposed to Stalin's policies since 1928. On 27th September, Ryutin and his supporters were expelled from the Communist Party. Ryutin was also found guilty of being an "enemy of the people" and was sentenced to a 10 years in prison. Soon afterwards Gregory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev were expelled from the party for failing to report the existence of Ryutin's report. Ryutin and his two sons, Vassily and Vissarion were later both executed.

At the 17th Party Congress in 1934, when Sergei Kirov stepped up to the podium he was greeted by spontaneous applause that equalled that which was required to be given to Joseph Stalin. In his speech he put forward a policy of reconciliation. He argued that people should be released from prison who had opposed the government's policy on collective farms and industrialization. The members of the Congress gave Kirov a vote of confidence by electing him to the influential Central Committee Secretariat.

Stalin now found himself in a minority in the Politburo. After years of arranging for the removal of his opponents from the party, Stalin realized he still could not rely on the total support of the people whom he had replaced them with. Stalin no doubt began to wonder if Kirov was willing to wait for his mentor to die before becoming leader of the party. Stalin was particularly concerned by Kirov's willingness to argue with him in public. He feared that this would undermine his authority in the party.

As usual, that summer Kirov and Stalin went on holiday together. Stalin, who treated Kirov like a son, used this opportunity to try to persuade him to remain loyal to his leadership. Stalin asked him to leave Leningrad to join him in Moscow. Stalin wanted Kirov in a place where he could keep a close eye on him. When Kirov refused, Stalin knew he had lost control over his protégé. According to Alexander Orlov, who had been told this by Genrikh Yagoda, Stalin decided that Kirov had to die.

Yagoda assigned the task to Vania Zaporozhets, one of his trusted lieutenants in the NKVD. He selected a young man, Leonid Nikolayev, as a possible candidate. Nikolayev had recently been expelled from the Communist Party and had vowed his revenge by claiming that he intended to assassinate a leading government figure. Zaporozhets met Nikolayev and when he discovered he was of low intelligence and appeared to be a person who could be easily manipulated, he decided that he was the ideal candidate as assassin.

Zaporozhets provided him with a pistol and gave him instructions to kill Kirov in the Smolny Institute in Leningrad. However, soon after entering the building he was arrested. Zaporozhets had to use his influence to get him released. On 1st December, 1934, Nikolayev, got past the guards and was able to shoot Kirov dead. Nikolayev was immediately arrested and after being tortured by Genrikh Yagoda he signed a statement saying that Gregory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev had been the leaders of the conspiracy to assassinate Kirov.

According to Alexander Orlov: "Stalin decided to arrange for the assassination of Kirov and to lay the crime at the door of the former leaders of the opposition and thus with one blow do away with Lenin's former comrades. Stalin came to the conclusion that, if he could prove that Zinoviev and Kamenev and other leaders of the opposition had shed the blood of Kirov". Victor Kravchenko has pointed out: "Hundreds of suspects in Leningrad were rounded up and shot summarily, without trial. Hundreds of others, dragged from prison cells where they had been confined for years, were executed in a gesture of official vengeance against the Party's enemies. The first accounts of Kirov's death said that the assassin had acted as a tool of dastardly foreigners - Estonian, Polish, German and finally British. Then came a series of official reports vaguely linking Nikolayev with present and past followers of Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and other dissident old Bolsheviks."

Walter Duranty, the New York Times correspondent based in Moscow, was willing to accept this story. "The details of Kirov's assassination at first pointed to a personal motive, which may indeed have existed, but investigation showed that, as commonly happens in such cases, the assassin Nikolaiev had been made the instrument of forces whose aims were treasonable and political. A widespread plot against the Kremlin was discovered, whose ramifications included not merely former oppositionists but agents of the Nazi Gestapo. As the investigation continued, the Kremlin's conviction deepened that Trotsky and his friends abroad had built up an anti-Stalinist organisation in close collaboration with their associates in Russia, who formed a nucleus or centre around which gradually rallied divers elements of discontent and disloyalty. The actual conspirators were comparatively few in number, but as the plot thickened they did not hesitate to seek the aid of foreign enemies in order to compensate for the lack of popular support at home."

Robin Page Arnot, a member of the British Communist Party, also did his best to promote the theory that the conspiracy to kill Kirov had been led by Leon Trotsky: "In December 1934 one of the groups carried through the assassination of Sergei Mironovich Kirov, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Subsequent investigations revealed that behind the first group of assassins was a second group, an Organisation of Trotskyists headed by Zinoviev and Kamenev. Further investigations brought to light definite counter-revolutionary activities of the Rights (Bukharin-Rykov organisations) and their joint working with the Trotskyists."

The prison library was quite satisfactory, and in addition one was able to receive all the legal writings of the time. But in general, it was immeasurably easier to study in prison than as an underground militant at liberty.

Stalin devised a plan to deal with Kirov's dangerous eminence, proposing his recall from Leningrad to become one of the four Secretaries, thereby cleverly satisfying those who wanted him promoted to the Secretariat: on paper, a big promotion; in reality, this would bring him under Stalin's observation, cutting him off from his Leningrad clientele. In Stalin's entourage, a promotion to the centre was a mixed blessing. Kirov was neither the first nor the last to protest vigorously - but, in Stalin's eyes, a refusal meant placing personal power above Party loyalty, a mortal sin. Kirov's request to stay in Leningrad for another two years was supported by Sergo and Kuibyshev. Stalin petulantly stalked out in a huff.

Sergo and Kuibyshev advised Kirov to compromise with Stalin: Kirov became the third Secretary but remained temporarily in Leningrad. Since he would have little time for Moscow, Stalin reached out to another newly elected CC member who would become the closest to Stalin of all the leaders: Andrei Zhdanov, boss of Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod), moved to Moscow as the fourth Secretary.

Kirov staggered back to Leningrad, suffering from flu, congestion in his right lung and palpitations. In March, Sergo wrote to him: "Listen my friend, you must rest. Really and truly, nothing is going to happen there without you there for 10-15 days... Our fellow countryman (their codename for Stalin) considers you a healthy man... none the less, you must take a short rest!" Kirov sensed that Stalin would not forgive him for the plot. Yet Stalin was even more suffocatingly friendly, insisting that they constantly meet in Moscow. It was Sergo, not Stalin, with whom Kirov really needed to discuss his apprehensions. `I want awfully to have a chat with you on very many questions but you can't say everything in a letter so it is better to wait until our meeting.' They certainly discussed politics in private, careful to reveal nothing on paper.

There were hints of Kirov's scepticism about Stalin's cult: on 15 July 1933, Kirov wrote formally to "Comrade Stalin" (not the usual Koba) that portraits of Stalin's photograph had been printed in Leningrad on rather "thin paper". Unfortunately they could not do any better. One can imagine Kirov and Sergo mocking Stalin's vanity. In private, Kirov imitated Stalin's accent to his Leningraders.

When Kirov visited Stalin in Moscow, they were boon companions but Artyom remembers a competitive edge to their jokes. Once at a family dinner, they made mock toasts:

"A toast to Stalin, the great leader of all peoples and all times. I'm a busy man but I've probably forgotten some of the other great things you've done too!" Kirov, who often "monopolized conversations so as to be the centre of attention", toasted Stalin, mocking the cult. Kirov could speak to Stalin in a way unthinkable to Beria or Khrushchev.

"A toast to our beloved leader of the Leningrad Party and possibly the Baku proletariat too, yet he promises me he can't read all the papers - and what else are you beloved leader of?" replied Stalin. Even the tipsy banter between Stalin and Kirov was pregnant with ill-concealed anger and resentment, yet no one in the family circle noticed that they were anything but the most loving of friends. However the `vegetarian years', as the poetess Akhmatova called them, were about to end: "the meat-eating years" were coming.

On 30 June, Adolf Hitler, newly elected Chancellor of Germany, slaughtered his enemies within his Nazi Party, in the Night of the Long Knives - an exploit that fascinated Stalin.

"Did you hear what happened in Germany?" he asked Mikoyan. "Some fellow that Hitler! Splendid! That's a deed of some skill!" Mikoyan was surprised that Stalin admired the German Fascist but the Bolsheviks were hardly strangers to slaughter themselves.

Stalin decided to arrange for the assassination of Kirov and to lay the crime at the door of the former leaders of the opposition and thus with one blow do away with Lenin's former comrades. Stalin came to the conclusion that, if he could prove that Zinoviev and Kamenev and other leaders of the opposition had shed the blood of Kirov, "the beloved son of the party", a member of the Politburo, he then would be justified in demanding blood for blood.

The details of Kirov's assassination at first pointed to a personal motive, which may indeed have existed, but investigation showed that, as commonly happens in such cases, the assassin Nikolaiev had been made the instrument of forces whose aims were treasonable and political. The actual conspirators were comparatively few in number, but as the plot thickened they did not hesitate to seek the aid of foreign enemies in order to compensate for the lack of popular support at home. In other words, the whole set of trials and investigations from that of Kirov's assassin and his accomplices up to that of the generals in June 1937, have not been separate incidents but part of a continuous process which has revealed step by step the development of a conspiracy in which Trotsky and the foreign enemies of Russia had not only the strongest of incentives but ample opportunity to co-operate with the conspirators.

If one accepts these premises, it is obvious that both Trotsky and the foreign enemies would use every means in their power to deny and discredit the evidence produced at the trials. In this they have been aided by Western unfamiliarity with Soviet mentality and methods, and to no small degree, by Soviet unfamiliarity with Western mentality and methods. Thus, at the very outset, the Western world was shocked by the harshness of the reprisals which followed Kirov's murder, and already the cry was raised abroad that this wave of killings and arrests was a sign of panic on the part of the Kremlin or that Stalin and his associates were taking advantage of an "accident" to rid themselves of political opponents.

The later "treason trials" of the Kamenev-Zinoviev and Piatakov-Radek groups were used by Stalin's enemies to confirm these two assertions and to deepen the scepticism with which the extraordinary (to Western minds) nature of the confessions had been received abroad. In the fog of denials and declarations that the confessions were elicited by drugs, torture, pressure upon relatives, hypnotism or other nefarious devices of the G.P.U., foreign opinion lost sight of three important facts: first, that these same men had, individually and collectively, confessed their sins and beaten their breasts in contrition no less fully and abashedly on previous occasions; second, that the outline of the conspiracy was gradually taking shape; third, that through the maze of charge and counter-charge the thread of collusion with foreign enemies ran ever stronger and more clear. The second trial established the fact of personal contact between several of the accused and foreign - i.e., German and Japanese - representatives. This in itself meant little because Piatakov received dozens of foreigners every week in his official position, the accused railway managers of the Far Eastern lines had similar official contact with Japanese consuls and business men, and Radek was a familiar figure at most of the diplomatic receptions in Moscow. Nevertheless the element of opportunity was thus introduced to buttress the prosecution's charge of treasonable and hostile motives that led to collusion.

Up to last Sunday 117 persons had been executed in Soviet Russia as the direct result of the Kirov assassination. To what extent are Zinoviev and Kamenev implicated in the plot. The hysteria of Karl Radek's and Nikolai Bukharin's charges against them in Pravda and Izvestia fails to carry conviction.

Russia's right to crush Nazi-White Guard conspiracies or other plots of murder and arson no one questions; few have anything but approval for it. What is in question is the guilt of particular persons who have not been tried in an open court of law.

In December 1934 one of the groups carried through the assassination of Sergei Mironovich Kirov, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Further investigations brought to light definite counter-revolutionary activities of the Rights (Bucharin-Rykov organisations) and their joint working with the Trotskyists. The group of fourteen constituting the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre were brought to trial in Moscow in August 1936, found guilty, and executed. In Siberia a trial, held in November, revealed that the Kemerovo mine had been deliberately wrecked and a number of miners killed by a subordinate group of wreckers and terrorists. A second Moscow trial, held in January 1937, revealed the wider ramifications of the conspiracy. This was the trial of the Parallel Centre, headed by Pyatakov, Radek, Sokolnikov, Serebriakov. The volume of evidence brought forward at this trial was sufficient to convince the most sceptical that these men, in conjunction with Trotsky and with the Fascist Powers, had carried through a series of abominable crimes involving loss of life and wreckage on a very considerable scale. With the exceptions of Radek, Sokolnikov, and two others, to whom lighter sentences were given, these spies and traitors suffered the death penalty. The same fate was meted out to Tukhachevsky, and seven other general officers who were tried in June on a charge of treason. In the case of Trotsky the trials showed that opposition to the line of Lenin for fifteen years outside the Bolshevik Party, plus opposition to the line of Lenin inside the Bolshevik Party for ten years, had in the last decade reached its finality in the camp of counter-revolution, as ally and tool of Fascism.

Hundreds of suspects in Leningrad were rounded up and shot summarily, without trial. Then came a series of official reports vaguely linking Nikolayev with present and past followers of Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and other dissident old Bolsheviks. Almost hourly the circle of those supposedly implicated, directly or "morally", was widened until it embraced anyone and everyone who had ever raised a doubt about any Stalinist policy.

Poskrebyshev answered Stalin's telephone in his office. Kirov's deputy, Chudov, broke the terrible news from Leningrad. Poskrebyshev tried Stalin's phone line but he could not get an answer, sending a secretary to find him. The hozhd, according to his journal, was meeting with Molotov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov and Zhdanov, but hurriedly called Leningrad, insisting on interrogating the Georgian doctor in his native language. Then he rang back to ask what the assassin was wearing. A cap? Were there foreign items on him? Yagoda, who had already called to demand whether any foreign objects had been found on the assassin, arrived at Stalin's office at 5.50 p.m.

Mikoyan, Sergo and Bukharin arrived quickly. Mikoyan specifically remembered that 'Stalin announced that Kirov had been assassinated and on the spot, without any investigation, he said the supporters of Zinoviev (the former leader of Leningrad and the Left opposition to Stalin) had started a terror against the Party. Sergo and Mikoyan, who were so close to Kirov, were particularly appalled since Sergo had missed seeing his friend for the last time. Kaganovich noticed that Stalin 'was shocked at first'.

Stalin, now showing no emotion, ordered Yenukidze as Secretary of the Central Executive Committee to sign an emergency law that decreed the trial of accused terrorists within ten days and immediate execution without appeal after judgement. Stalin must have drafted it himself. This 1st December Law - or rather the two directives of that night - was the equivalent of Hitler's Enabling Act because it laid the foundation for a random terror without even the pretence of a rule of law. Within three years, two million people had been sentenced to death or labour camps in its name. Mikoyan said there was no discussion and no objections. As easily as slipping the safety catch on their Mausers, the Politburo clicked into the military emergency mentality of the Civil War.

If there was any opposition, it came from Yenukidze, that unusually benign figure among these amoral toughs, but it was he who ultimately signed it. The newspapers declared the laws were passed by a meeting of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee - which probably meant Stalin bullying Yenukidze in a smoky room after the meeting. It is also a mystery why the craven Kalinin, the President who was present, did not sign it. His signature had appeared by the time it was announced in the newspapers. Anyway the Politburo did not officially vote until a few days later.
Stalin immediately decided that he would personally lead a delegation to Leningrad to investigate the murder. Sergo wanted to go but Stalin ordered him to remain behind because of his weak heart. Sergo had indeed collapsed with grief and may have suffered another heart attack. His daughter remembered that "this was the only time he wept openly". His wife, Zina, travelled to Leningrad to comfort Kirov's widow.

Kaganovich also wanted to go but Stalin told him that someone had to run the country. He took Molotov, Voroshilov and Zhdanov with him along with Yagoda and Andrei Vyshinsky, the Deputy Procurator, who had crossed Sergo earlier that year. Naturally they were accompanied by a trainload of secret policemen and Stalin's own myrmidons, Pauker and Vlasik. In retrospect, the most significant man Stalin chose to accompany him was Nikolai Yezhov, head of the CC's Personnel Department. Yezhov was one of those special young men, like Zhdanov, on whom Stalin was coming to depend.

The local leaders gathered, shell-shocked, at the station. Stalin played his role, that of a Lancelot heartbroken and angry at the death of a beloved knight, with self-conscious and preplanned Thespianism. When he dismounted from the train, Stalin strode up to Medved, the Leningrad NKVD chief, and slapped his face with his gloved hand.
Stalin immediately headed across town to the hospital to inspect the body, then set up a headquarters in Kirov's office where he began his own strange investigation, ignoring any evidence that did not point to a terrorist plot by Zinoviev and the Left opposition. Poor Medved, the cheerful Chekist slapped by Stalin, was interrogated first and criticized for not preventing the murder. Then the "small and shabby" murderer himself, Nikolaev, was dragged in. Nikolaev was one of those tragic, simple victims of history, like the Dutchman who lit the Reichstag fire with which this case shares many resemblances. This frail dwarf of thirty had been expelled from, and reinstated in, the Party but had written to Kirov and Stalin complaining of his plight. He was apparently in a daze and did not even recognize Stalin until they showed him a photograph. Falling to his knees before the jackbooted leader, he sobbed,

"What have I done, what have I done?" Khrushchev, who was not in the room, claimed that Nikolaev kneeled and said he had done it on assignment from the Party. A source close to Voroshilov has Nikolaev stammering, "But you yourself told me... " Some accounts claim that he was punched and kicked by the Chekists present.

"Take him away!" ordered Stalin.

The well-informed NKVD defector, Orlov, wrote that Nikolaev pointed at Zaporozhets, Leningrad's deputy NKVD boss, and said, "Why are you asking me? Ask him."

Zaporozhets had been imposed on Kirov and Leningrad in 1932, Stalin and Yagoda's man in Kirov's fiefdom. The reason to ask Zaporozhets was that Nikolaev had already been detained in October loitering with suspicious intent outside Kirov's house, carrying a revolver, but had been freed without even being searched. Another time, the bodyguards had prevented him taking a shot. But four years later, when Yagoda was tried, he confessed, in testimony filled with both lies and truths, to having ordered Zaporozhets not to place any obstacles in the way of the terrorist act against Kirov.

Then the assassin's wife, Milda Draul, was brought in. The NKVD spread the story that Nikolaev's shot was a crime passionnel following her affair with Kirov. Draul was a plain-looking woman. Kirov liked elfin ballerinas but his wife was not pretty either: it is impossible to divine the impenetrable mystery of sexual taste but those who knew both believed they were an unlikely couple. Draul claimed she knew nothing. Stalin strode out into the ante-room and ordered that Nikolaev be brought round with medical attention.

"To me it's already clear that a well-organized counter-revolutionary terrorist organization is active in Leningrad... A painstaking investigation must be made." There was no real attempt to analyse the murder forensically. Stalin certainly did not wish to find out whether the NKVD had encouraged Nikolaev to kill Kirov.

Later, it is said that Stalin visited the "prick" in his cell and spent an hour with him alone, offering him his life in return for testifying against Zinoviev at a trial. Afterwards Nikolaev wondered if he would be double-crossed.

The murkiness now thickens into a deliberately blind fog. There was a delay. Kirov's bodyguard, Borisov, was brought over to be interrogated by Stalin. He alone could reveal whether he was delayed at the Smolny entrance and what he knew of the NKVD's machinations. Borisov rode in the back of an NKVD Black Crow. As the driver headed towards the Smolny, the front-seat passenger reached over and seized the wheel so that the Black Crow swerved and grazed its side against a building. Somehow in this dubious car crash, Borisov was killed. The `shaken' Pauker arrived in the anteroom to announce the crash. Such ham-handed "car crashes" were soon to become an occupational hazard for eminent Bolsheviks. Certainly anyone who wanted to cover up a plot might have wished Borisov dead. When Stalin was informed of this reekingly suspicious death, he denounced the local Cheka: "They couldn't even do that properly."

The mystery will never now be conclusively solved. Did Stalin order Kirov's assassination? There is no evidence that he did, yet the whiff of his complicity still hangs in the air. Khrushchev, who arrived in Leningrad on a separate train as a Moscow delegate, claimed years later that Stalin ordered the murder. Mikoyan, a more trustworthy witness in many ways than Khrushchev and with less to prove, came to believe that Stalin was somehow involved in the death.

Stalin certainly no longer trusted Kirov whose murder served as a pretext to destroy the Old Bolshevik cliques. His drafting of the lst December Law minutes after the death seems to stink as much as his decision to blame the murder on Zinoviev. Stalin had indeed tried to replace Kirov's friend Medved and he knew the suspicious Zaporozhets who, shortly before the murder, had gone on leave without Moscow's permission, perhaps to absent himself from the scene. Nikolaev was a pathetic bundle of suspicious circumstances. Then there were the strange events of the day of the murder: why was Borisov delayed at the door and why were there already Moscow NKVD officers in the Smolny so soon after the assassination? Borisov's death is highly suspect. And Stalin, often so cautious, was also capable of such a reckless gamble, particularly after admiring Hitler's reaction to the Reichstag fire and his purge.

There are reasons for the suspicion that the killer of Kirov, Nikolayev, was assisted by someone from among the people whose duty it was to protect the person of Kirov. A month and a half before the killing, Nikolayev was arrested on the grounds of suspicious behaviour but he was released and not even searched. It is an unusually suspicious circumstances that the member of the Secret Police assigned to protect Kirov was being brought for an interrogation, on 2nd December, 1934, he was killed in a car accident in which no other occupants of the car were harmed.

Monument to Sergey Kirov

Monument to Sergey Kirov (Russian: Памятник Сергею Мироновичу Кирову ) is a monument in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Rostov Oblast, Russia. It was opened in 1939.

Monument to Sergey Kirov
Russian: Памятник Сергею Мироновичу Кирову
Coordinates 47°08′03″N 39°26′03″E  /  47.1342°N 39.4343°E  / 47.1342 39.4343
LocationRostov-on-Don, Rostov Oblast, Russia
Opening date1939

The monument was created by sculptor Zinovy Vilensky and architect Viktor Barinov. The bronze figure with an risen right hand is set on a high pedestal made of red granite. Kirov is depicted with a kind smile and a cheerful face. [1] On the pedestal there is inscribed a quote from the speech of Kirov, deliver at the 17th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks): "Our successes are truly tremendous. The devil knows – to put it humanly, one wants just to live and live. " [2]

Sergei Mironovich Kirov was in Rostov in the spring of 1918. Then he participated in the First Congress of Soviets of the Don Republic. [1]

The Monument to Kirov was opened on April 30, 1939. The monument was installed in the park, which was name after Kirov as well. Earlier in this square stood the Church of the Intercession, which was demolished in 1930. [3] According to a city legend, the marble slabs remaining from the church were used as a material for the monument. [4]

During the Great Patriotic War, the inhabitants of Rostov savedthe monument from destruction and buried it. Already in 1945 the monument was restored again. [3]

The Monument to Kirov was previously declared an object of cultural heritage of Federal significance, but in 1997 its status was reduced to of Local significance. [5] [6]

In 2003 the Cossack Society "Don Cossack Host" wished to restore the Church of the Intercession at Kirov Square and move the monument to another place. This proposal was supported by Archbishop Panteleimon of Rostov and Novocherkassk. Members of CPRF and representatives of the Rostov branch of All-Russian Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture were against this idea. Public hearings were appointed, and as a result, it was decided to move the monument to the square which is situated at the corner of Kirovsky Avenue and Pushkinskaya Street. [3]

In October 2005, the monument to Kirov was dismantled and moved to a workshop for restoration. [7] In December of the same year, the monument was set in the new place. [8]

Sergei Kirov (Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum)

People's Commissar for Defense of the Soviet Union
June 27, 1941 – February 25, 1946

Full member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
March 15, 1934 – January 10, 1953

Sergei Mironovich Kirov (Russian: Серге́й Миро́нович Ки́ров March 15 [March 27 N.S.], 1886 – January 10, 1953), born Sergei Mironovich Kostrikov, was a Soviet communist revolutionary and politician. He was the informal leader of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Communist Party from 1934 until his death in 1953.

Relatively unknown among party inner circle during the time of Russian Revolution, Kirov rose rapidly through the Communist Party ranks in the 1920s when he served as leader of Azerbaijani Communist Party. He slowly managed to consolidate power following the 15th Party Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in 1927 after being elected as the head of the Party Central Control Commission and the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate. He ascended into the top Soviet leadership after got elected to head the Leningrad party organization, replacing Grigory Zinoviev who had expelled from the Politburo on the 17th Party Congress in 1934.

With his influential power base on Leningrad, the position as the head of Party Control Commission-Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate that controlled the Soviet secret police, and his charismatic personality that highly popular with the party cadres, Kirov rapidly gained prominence among other Politburo members by the 1930s. By the end of the 1930s, Kirov solidified his position as de facto leader of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union after being re-elected to the Politburo with only five negative votes at the 18th Party Congress in 1939.

Kirov was one of early members of Goretnik ("highlander") faction within the AUCP, named so because its initial figures, including Kirov, such as Sergo Ordzhonikidze and Anastas Mikoyan, were based or rose in power in the Caucasus regional party organizations. Kirov and other Goretniks adopted a pragmatic, centrist position between ultra-left Leon Trotsky and gradualist Nikolai Bukharin. Kirov favored rapid industrialization like Trotsky, but restrained from implementing strict social controls on the Soviet population, favoring more relaxed approach. Unlike Bukharin, Kirov favored more aggressive foreign policy which, however, aiming at the territorial security of the union rather than motivated ideologically by communism like Trotsky.

Kirov was mostly remembered for his leadership on the World War II where he led the country, together with the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan as allies against the Axis powers. Despite heavy human and territorial losses, Soviet forces managed to halt the German offensive after the decisive Battles of Moscow and Stalingrad. After defeating the Axis powers on the Eastern Front, the Red Army captured Berlin in May 1945, effectively ending the war in Europe for the Allies. The Soviet Union subsequently emerged as one of the world superpowers along with the United States and Japan.

Who Murdered Sergei Kirov? : 5 Decades Later, Death of Stalin Stalwart Figures in 3 Books--and in Kremlin Politics

Sergei Kirov never had the cabbage dumplings he asked his wife to make for dinner that December night.

Instead, the Communist Party chief of Leningrad was assassinated before he could go home to a late supper, thus becoming a historical conundrum that haunts today’s brave new world of glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union.

Now, almost 54 years after he was gunned down in suspicious circumstances at the city’s party headquarters, Kirov is a particularly compelling ghost. His murder is the subject or key element of three books due out over the next few months in this country.

The two novels and one historical account will be appearing here just as the question of who killed Kirov is being acrimoniously debated in the Soviet Union, where the past is once again up for an official rewrite.

All three books examine the bloody legacy of Kirov’s demise--the “Great Terror” launched by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in the 1930s to secure absolute power through a ruthless purge of potential rivals. Ultimately, the paranoia unleashed by Kirov’s death swept through all levels of Soviet society and may have claimed as many as 10 million victims.

Of the three books, the biggest splash is likely to be made by “Children of the Arbat,” a 685-page novel being released in translation here by Little, Brown next month. “Children,” serialized in the Soviet Union last year and now appearing there in book form, is the long-suppressed work of 77-year-old Anatoli Rybakov, who was imprisoned under Stalin and who insisted that the novel appear in the Soviet Union before being published abroad.

The novel was a sensation in the Soviet Union because of its look into the years of terror--and Rybakov’s innovative portrayal of Stalin through the pock-marked dictator’s own eyes. In one internal monologue in “Children of the Arbat” Stalin muses, “It is not for Russia to reject the role of the individual in history. Russia is used to having a czar, a grand prince, an emperor or a supreme leader, whatever he is called.”

One of the Soviet Union’s most famous writers, poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, has hailed “Children of the Arbat” as “one of the most daring steps of glasnost " and as a “geological cross section of terra incognita.” The book is also considered as perhaps the most important novel by a Soviet writer since “Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak.

“Reading ‘Children of the Arbat’ is like seeing inside the Forbidden City,” said Little, Brown publisher Roger Donald, “because, like Pasternak’s novel, it contains a Russian’s own view of life under Stalin.” Donald, who paid $100,000 for U.S. publication rights, added that his firm has ordered a relatively big first printing of 125,000 copies of the novel because of public interest here in the dramatic changes taking place in the Soviet Union.

At the time of his death, Kirov was a rising star in Soviet politics, viewed by some as the only man who could oust an increasingly unpopular Stalin. Kirov had opposed some early maneuvers by Stalin to eliminate political opponents. By at least one account, the last year of Kirov’s life was marked by increasing acrimony toward Kirov from a jealous and wary Stalin.

Although accounts of and suspicions about the assassination of Kirov vary, there is general agreement that Kirov died instantly from one gunshot wound to the back of the head. He was murdered in the late afternoon of Dec. 1, 1934 in the Smolny Institute, a normally heavily guarded former girls school converted to the headquarters of the Communist Party in Leningrad. The shot was fired by Leonid Nikolaev, an unsuccessful party member and job-seeker.

In the wake of the murder Stalin took a train to Leningrad and personally began an investigation in which, some contend, nearly all those with some knowledge about the killing were executed or sent to die in prison camps to cover up Stalin’s complicity. Within weeks of the murder Stalin had used Kirov’s death as a pretext for arresting other high party officials, who were made to confess to conspiracies later aired in carefully contrived show trials.

Kirov’s slaying “remains one of the crucial issues in Soviet history and one which I think still can have tremendous political consequences, whatever the final interpretation is,” said Harvard University Russian history specialist Adam B. Ulam, whose novel “The Kirov Affair” will be published next month.

Historian Robert Conquest of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, whose factual examination of Kirov’s death--"Stalin and the Kirov Murder"--will be published this fall by Oxford University Press, sees the argument over the murder as a proxy debate over Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s more liberal social and economic policies.

“You can’t fight on perestroika (economic restructuring) but you can fight on Stalinism,” Conquest said. “History is now the key to the political struggle.”

British historian Paul Johnson, who has written about that era in his book “Modern Times” and who keeps an eye on developments in the Soviet Union, said the Kirov murder “was the great watershed at which the regime, which had always been violent, toppled over into mass murder.”

Many Western historians believe that Kirov died as the result of a plot masterminded by Stalin, who feared that Kirov’s popularity in and out of the party threatened him politically. During interrogation, the actual triggerman is said to have pointed to security men participating in the investigation of the murder as the ones who “made me do it.” Nikolaev reportedly was pistol-whipped unconscious for this statement--made in Stalin’s presence--by the very men he had accused. He was later executed after a secret trial.

However, in the Soviet Union official responsibility for the murder still lies with Nikolaev, who allegedly was part of a conspiracy to overthrow Stalin.

Under Gorbachev, Stalin’s reputation has undergone a steep devaluation. In a major speech last November, Gorbachev called for a major re-examination of Soviet history in the 1920s and 1930s.

“It is essential to assess the past with a sense of historical responsibility and on the basis of historical truth,” the Soviet leader said then. Gorbachev went on to denounce “real crimes stemming from an abuse of power” by Stalin. But he also credited Stalin with “incontestable contribution to the struggle for socialism” and stopped short of a blanket condemnation of the dictator, who died in 1953.

Harvard’s Ulam, author of a widely respected biography of Stalin as well as the new novel, believes the current Soviet government is treading close to a political cliff on the issue of Stalin’s crimes.

“The point is that up to now in the critique of Stalin, the regime always has been talking out of both sides of its mouth,” Ulam has stated. “It’s very difficult for them to maintain this sort of dichotomy about Stalin with Gorbachev saying, ‘Well, he was a man who’s done all sorts of criminal things. At the same time he saved us during the war (World War II) and also Stalin was the prime agent of industrialization of the Soviet Union.’ ”

In fact, Ulam believes the current position on Stalin is untenable. “It’s like saying Hitler built the Autobahn and told people to become part of the cult of physical exercise and fitness,” he asserted. “The regime is really--I won’t say tottering on the brink of destruction--but tottering on the brink of self-repudiation about this whole business with Stalin.”

Ulam believes that Soviet “liberation from the horrors of the past cannot come until the regime is courageous enough to say not only criminal things happened (under Stalin) but also absolutely absurd things.”

But he acknowledged that there are risks in telling the truth. An honest history of the Stalin period “would certainly increase enormously the psychological danger of people--not ceasing to believe in communism because most people don’t care about that--but people seeing the regime as something preposterous and ridiculous and asking themselves, ‘Why should we have it in the first place?’ ”

Interestingly, Ulam is one Western historian who has not placed the blame for Kirov’s death on Stalin. In his 1973 biography of the dictator “I indicate that probably it was a case of assassination by Nikolaev and that we really don’t have enough evidence, except from rather biased sources, that it was done by Stalin,” he said.

Nonetheless, Ulam said that “the presumption has to remain that quite possibly Stalin licensed, in a very involved way, the killing of Kirov.” And, without giving away too much of the plot, in his novel Ulam places moral responsibility for the death on Stalin.

The Hoover Institution’s Conquest, author of a book about the Stalin purges called “The Great Terror” as well as his new book about the Kirov killing, noted that the Soviet Union has been trying to come to terms with its Stalin period since the 1950s.

“They’ve been 30 years trying to bite the bullet,” he said.

In his so-called “secret speech” of 1956, then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev strongly implied to other party members that the impetus for Kirov’s death came from high up, Conquest pointed out.

In that speech Khrushchev said, “After the murder of Kirov, top functionaries of the Leningrad NKVD (the Soviet secret police) were given very light sentences (for failure to prevent Kirov’s assassination), but in 1937 they were shot. We can assume that they were shot in order to cover the traces of the organizers of Kirov’s killing.”

Khrushchev, who was deposed in 1964, also said it was suspicious that Kirov’s bodyguard was killed the day after the assassination “in a car accident in which no other occupants of the car were harmed.” Khrushchev’s attempts at “de-Stalinization” died after he was removed from power and his successors reinstated Stalin to most of his former glory.

Conquest noted that for the moment at least the argument about Kirov in the Soviet Union is being fought along unofficial lines, usually by writers and journalists.

For instance, in February the weekly newspaper Nedelya charged that Stalin’s secret police chief Genrik Yagoda “was one of the central figures in arranging the assassination of S. M. Kirov.”

This was reported to be the first public hint that a Stalin crony was involved in the slaying and was contained in an article about Nikolai Bukharin, executed by Stalin after a 1938 show trial. Bukharin, accused of involvement in Kirov’s murder, was one of 20 victims of that trial who were recently rehabilitated and declared innocent of all charges. The only defendant at the trial who has not been rehabilitated is Yagoda, who became a victim of the terror system he helped create.

Last December another journal, a weekly magazine called Ogonyok, published previously suppressed sections of the memoirs of Anastas I. Mikoyan, for decades a party and government official. Early in 1934 Stalin was so unpopular with party members that he was almost replaced as the party’s general secretary by Kirov, the memoirs reported. A few months later Kirov was killed.

Last week a controversial new play, “Onward . . . Onward . . . Onward,” premiered in the remote city of Tomsk after being published in a Moscow literary monthly. By Mikhail F. Shatrov, a leading Soviet playwright, the work accused Stalin of plotting Kirov’s murder.

Conquest concluded, “There was no motive for anyone but Stalin to kill Kirov.”

Conservative historian Johnson said it will be fascinating to see how far the Soviet Union goes in telling itself the truth about its own past.

“The murder of Kirov is particularly important because of everything that followed from it,” he explained. “If you say that was Stalin’s act, then in logic you really have to rehabilitate absolutely everyone after ’34, don’t you? . . . There is no logical point, once you start to unscramble the lies, at which you can stop telling the truth. You may invent an arbitrary point and enforce it, but it’s very difficult to do that.”

Career [ edit | edit source ]

Lobov, Nikolai Bukharin, Sergey Kirov and Vyacheslav Molotov on the City Communist Party conference Leningrad Feb 1926

In 1921, he became manager of the Azerbaijan party organization. Kirov was a loyal supporter of Joseph Stalin, and in 1926 he was rewarded with the command of the Leningrad party organization.

Kirov was a strong supporter of industrialization and forced collectivization. On the 16th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) in 1930 he stated: "The General Party line is to conduct the course of our country industrialization. Based on the industrialization, we conduct the transformation of our agriculture. Namely we centralize and collectivize." Η]

At the 17th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), in 1934. Kirov delivered the speech called "The Speech of Comrade Stalin is The Program of Our Party", which refers to the Stalin's speech delivered on the Congress earlier. Kirov praised Stalin for everything he did since the death of Vladimir Lenin. Moreover, he personally named and ridiculed Nikolai Bukharin, Alexei Rykov and Mikhail Tomsky. Bukharin and Rykov were tried in the show trial called The Trial of the Twenty-One. Tomsky committed suicide expecting the arrest. The Kirov speech on the Congress could be seen as prelude to the period known as Great Purge. Η]

Sergei Kirov - History

Kirov in a Lenningrad Factory

On December 1, 1934 Sergei Kirov, a close associate of Stalin, was assassinated . This prompted Stalin to institute another great purge. In the previous year, Stalin had purged the Communist Party of close to 1,000,000 members. This time, many of the older leaders of the party, such as Zinoviev and Kamenev, were arrested and tried for treason. Before the purges ended, close to 8 million people were killed, imprisoned or sent to Siberia.

During 1934 it seemed that the Soviet Union was normalizing, with the secret police being a little less invasive and rumors of a pardon for opponents of the regime widespread. Culturally Soviet youth began to adopt European methods of dress. The Soviet Union even joined the League of Nations.

All of this came to a sudden halt on December 1 when Sergei Kirov, a member of the Politburo who was responsible for heavy industry, was assassinated in Leningrad. Stalin immediately left for Leningrad. On arrival, he publicly slapped the waiting head of NKVD. The murder of Kirov was said to have been carried out by Leonid Nikolaev, and the government claimed that he was part of a Trotskyite-Zinovieite terror organization. Nikolaev was quickly shot, and almost everyone who was around suddenly died or disappeared. To this day, Kirov's assassination's actual circumstances are unclear, but many suspect that Stalin was behind it.

Stalin made use of the event to crack down on all forms of dissent. Before he left Moscow for Leningrad, he issued a decree that

  1. Ordered all those investigating potential terror attacks to expedite their investigations
  2. courts should not delay the execution of those convicted of terror acts
  3. The Internal Affairs Ministry should carry out the death sentences immediately,

Arrests and executions became widespread. Of the 1,225 Communist delegates to the 17th Party Congress in 1934, 1108 were arrested within a year. Of the 139 candidate members to the Central Committee, 98 were arrested and shot.

The arrests and executions gathered more steam in 1935. Taking Stalins orders seriously, three people, two women, and a man, were arrested for asking questions about Kirov's death on March 9. They were executed on the 10th, and the next day the 11th, Stalin was notified. Tens of thousands of relatives of those accused were sent to work camps in the far east, known as the Gulags. Stalin even issued a decree that children as young as 12 should be executed for crimes against the state.

The Russian Orthodox Church became a new target of the assault by Stalin. Everywhere churches that were hundreds of years old were demolished.

The Kirov Affair

Sergei Kirov, First Secretary of the Leningrad party organization since 1926 and Politbiuro member from 1930, was assassinated in the Smolnyi Institute, the headquarters of the Leningrad party obkom, on December 1, 1934. The assassin, Leonid Nikolaev, was a frustrated party apparatchik who had gained entry to Kirov’s third-floor office and shot him on the spot. He was immediately apprehended, interrogated under the personal supervision of Stalin, and executed. Within days of the assassination, Stalin announced that Nikolaev had been put up to the job by Zinovievites — that is, supporters of Grigorii Zinoviev who had been ousted as Leningrad party boss in 1926 and was in disgrace — as well as, incongruously, remnants of White Guardists and other “socially alien” elements. Arrests of Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev and many of their associates followed as did summary executions of alleged White conspirators. Zinoviev and Kamenev were convicted of “moral complicity” in the crime and sentenced to prison. Eighteen months later, in July 1936, they and fourteen others stood as the accused in an elaborately staged “show trial.”

Assumptions that Stalin had staged Kirov’s assassination to eliminate someone whose popularity in the party was eclipsing his own and/or to have a pretext to launch a wave of terror within the party to assert his own dictatorial power long circulated among dissident party members and in the »migr» community. They were recycled by western historians in search of an explanation for the bloodbath that overwhelmed the party during 1936-38. Yet, at least two official investigations in the 1960s and a Politbiuro Commission appointed in 1989 failed to establish Stalin’s complicity or that of the NKVD in Kirov’s murder. The assassination did churn up an atmosphere of heightened vigilance and political tension at all levels of the party. However, the link between it and what is known as the Great Terror seems more circumstantial than direct.

Kirov’s position was assumed by Andrei Zhdanov, a loyal follower of Stalin. One byproduct of Kirov’s assassination were the reports by the NKVD on popular attitudes. As analyzed by historians who recently gained access to them, they indicate that many people attributed the act to dark forces (in some versions, the Jews), looked forward to Stalin sharing the same fate, and were more concerned about the return of food shortages than the political fallout. Nevertheless, within the party, Kirov enjoyed martyr status, and his name was affixed to cities, streets, and such venerable institutions as the former Marinskii Ballet in Leningrad. The Kirov affair illustrates the power of rumor and legend in a society where reliable information was hard to come by.

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Kirovin alkuperäinen nimi oli Kostrikov (Ко́стриков). Hän menetti vanhempansa nuorena, ja isoäiti kasvatti häntä seitsenvuotiaaksi, jolloin hänet laitettiin orpokotiin. Kostrikov muutti Pietariin ja liittyi 1904 Venäjän sosiaalidemokraattiseen työväenpuolueeseen. Hänestä tuli keskeinen hahmo bolševikkien osuudessa vallankumouksiin 1905 ja 1917. lähde?

Kirov pidätettiin 1905 kolmeksi kuukaudeksi osallisuudesta vuoden 1905 vallankumoukseen. Päästyään vankilasta hän liittyi bolševikkeihin. Hänet pidätettiin jälleen seuraavana vuonna ja tuomittiin kolmeksi vuodeksi kielletyn kirjallisuuden painamisesta. Hänet vangittiin tämänkin jälkeen uudestaan. Vapauduttuaan Kirov muutti Kaukasiaan ja asui siellä maaliskuun vallankumouksen puhkeamiseen saakka vuonna 1917. Kostrikov otti vallankumouksellisen salanimen Kirov, ja hänestä tuli lokakuun vallankumouksen jälkeen bolševikkien sotilashallinnon johtaja Astrahanissa. lähde?

Kirov osallistui sisällissotaan Pohjois-Kaukasian rintamalla vuoteen 1920 asti. Myöhemmin hänestä tuli Azerbaidžanin kommunistipuolueen johtaja. Hän oli 1922 luomassa Transkaukasian sosialistista federatiivista neuvostotasavaltaa, joka oli yksi neljästä Neuvostoliiton muodostaneesta neuvostotasavallasta. Hänestä tuli Stalinin läheinen apuri valtataistelussa vanhoja bolševikkeja vastaan. Vuonna 1926 hän sai Leningradin ja Luoteis-Venäjän kommunistisen puolueen johtajan aseman. lähde?

30-vuotias bolševikkipuolueen jäsen Leonid Nikolajev ampui Kirovin 1. joulukuuta 1934 Leningradissa Smolnan palatsissa. Stalin käynnisti laajat puhdistukset, ja seurauksena oli monien vanhankaartin johtavien bolševikkien pidätyksiä ja teloituksia. Stalin väitti murhan olleen osa suurempaa, Lev Trotskin johtamaa salaliittoa neuvostohallitusta vastaan. [1]

Stalin käytti Kirovin murhaa hyväkseen päästäkseen eroon vanhoista bolševikeista, jotka vielä muistivat Stalinin olleen vain yksi kollektiivisen johdon jäsen muiden joukossa. Tämä on herättänyt epäilyjä, että murhan takana olisikin ollut Stalin itse. Stalinin kuoleman jälkeen vallinneen suojasään aikana aihe sai paljon huomiota, ja spekulaatiot jatkuivat vielä 1990-luvulla. Yhdysvaltalainen tutkija Matthew E. Lenoe on teoksessaan The Kirov Murder and Soviet History arvioinut, että murhaaja toimi yksin. Kirovin henkivartija kuoli seuraavana päivänä, mutta se on tulkittu aidoksi liikenneonnettomuudeksi eikä salaliiton peittelyksi. [2] Samaan johtopäätökseen tulee Stalin-elämäkerran kirjoittaja Oleg Hlevnjuk [3] , joka toteaa, että Stalinin osuudesta ei ole löytynyt todisteita. Nikolajev oli epävakaa persoona, ja murhan taustalla saattoi olla mustasukkaisuusdraama. [4]


Conquest, Robert. Stalin and the Kirov Murder. New York, 1990.

Getty, J. Arch. Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933–1938. New York, 1985.

Khlevniuk, Oleg V. Politbiuro: Mekhanizmy politicheskoi vlasti v 30-e gody. Moscow, 1996.

Knight, Amy. Who Killed Kirov? The Kremlin's Greatest Mystery. New York, 1999.

Lenoe, Matthew. "Did Stalin Kill Kirov and Does It Matter?" Journal of Modern History 74, no. 2 (June 2002): 352–380.

Watch the video: Who was Sergei Kirov?