Was Stalin involved in Kirov´s murder?

Was Stalin involved in Kirov´s murder?   



This investigation intends to answer the question Was Stalin involved in Kirov´s murder? To do so, it will use a variety of sources ranging from Russian old book as well as new books. Historians such as Robert Service and Bruno Ullam, I will try to find an answer to find whether Stalin was or not involved in Kirov’s assassination. Since many historians have hesitated for years for an answer, I would then get evidences for a reasonable answer. This essay will have a non-concrete answer to the question to Kirov’s murder but it will have a range of sources which being analysed would give me enough evidences to answer it based on what I have researched. TO do this I would have to look at the background of the three characters: Stalin, Kirov and Nikolaev in order to understand any discordance between them which could have leaded to the murder itself.

On the 1st of December of 1934 at 4:30 pm, Kirov was shot outside his office in the former Smolny Institute by ex-party member Leonid Vasilievich Nikolae[1]. Kirov was younger than Stalin and “Kirov was to acquire a posthumous reputation as a political moderate in the Politburo”[2]  and Stalin saw him as a threat and became aware of Kirov’s powerful opposition and influence by 1932.  At a congress in 1934, “Kirov in fact polled just under 300 votes more than Stalin received”[3] .When Stalin realized that he was being criticized by his opponents he tried to make a law against that and Kirov disagreed with him and so did the people which voted and supported Kirov. Furthermore, Kirov in 1934 wanted the people who had been imprisoned to be released and again, people supported Kirov and not Stalin. It was obvious that Kirov was getting in front of all Stalin’s plans and wills and wouldn’t let him do what he wanted and therefore Kirov was angering Stalin. After the assassination, it was Stalin who personally took charge of the investigation, which is very suspicious because he could have manipulated the information. Also the guards who were meant to be at Kirov’s door, had suddenly disappeared, which is too much a consequence. His assassination created loads of disputes and investigations because he was a very likely successor of Stalin. Kirov’s enigmatic death is still nowadays still a mystery but many agree and state the obvious, Stalin had for sure something to do.
Stalin could have been behind this murder because all the relatives from Kirov were killed or exiled after or before his death. Once Stalin had gotten rid of Kirov it is when all the trials and purges started, Stalin started attacking his opponents. This was easier for him now that Kirov was gone, because he was the one who always went against him and got the votes away from the people. This seems like Kirov was his first victim, and the murder which would give him a free pathway to the other victims and opponents.
No one, not even Trotsky who had been exiled by Stalin, said that it had been Stalin who was behind Kirov’s murder. Also Stalin saw this assassination as a conspiracy against him and thought that it had been his enemies who wanted to implicate him in the murder. Another of the evidences that defends Stalin’s innocence is that Yagoda himself stated that he had planned the assassination and Stalin had not taken part of this. Also, there are rumors that say that since Nikolaev‘s ex-wife was Kirov’s secretary, he had the idea that they had an affair and thus he killed Kirov for that.
So the possible theories for the murder of Sergei Kirov are that Nikolaev could have just done it because he wanted revenge from Kirov’s possible affair with his ex-wife. The NKVD planned this and thus used Nikolaev as the “shooter”, and Stalin had no dispute of any kind with Kirov and had nothing to do with the assassination; or Stalin organized the whole event because he wanted to gain more power and by getting rid of Kirov.

Adam Bruno Ullam, in his book Stalin and his era, pronounces that it “was organized in accordance with a decision of the ‘Block of rights and Trotskyites’”[4] . This then opposes the idea that it had anything to do with Stalin, and that it had a Marxist approach. This is because if it had been the Trotskyites who did it then Stalin had nothing to do because they were opponents. Also, Ullam says that this part of this terrorist attack was organized by Yagoda, the chief of the NKVD. Stalin would have never used Yagoda for this, as he did not trust him because Yagoda protected some opponents from Stalin. So the relationship between Stalin and Yadoga was never good as they did not trust each other and so it was not very possible that Stalin would have given such a terrible and delicate mission to someone like Yagoda. This therefore does not implicate Stalin in Kirov’s murder because if it is true that Yagoda organized the crime, then it is not likely that Stalin would have gotten involved as they did not have a good relationship.
In contrast with Ullam, Robert Conquest in his book Stalin says that Stalin used the assassination of Kirov to say it was the cause of the 1937-38 terror.  As the death of Kirov happened, Stalin used it as an excuse of when the terror started, and also he began to take his opponents by his “own hands”, killed or exiled. But for some writers like Martin McCauley in his book Stalin and Stalinism, he mentions that governors like Stalin can be good politicians and good figures of the twentieth century, but that does not mean that they can be good men. This then retaliates that Stalin was very capable of doing such a horrible thing, like the murder of Kirov because it did not mean that because he was such a great leader that he could not do such things.
Akimov, a graduate of the Aviation department expressed his view about the assassination of Kirov saying: “Kirov’s murder wasn’t connected to Trotskyists; that’s all nonsense”[5]­. Like Robert Conquest, Akimov is another of the people who say that the Trotskyites were involved but does not show an opinion whether Stalin was involved or not.
The Pravda on the 5th December of 1934 said that Borisov, Kirov’s bodyguard and possibly the best witness was killed in a car accident the day when he had to be interrogated by Stalin. This is very suspicious, and suggests me that it was perhaps Stalin who “ordered” this assassination so that very valuable witnesses were vanished away. [6]
Historians like Robert conquest, Amy Knight and others, support the idea by evidences and circumstances of the day Kirov’s were murdered that Stalin had been implicated in it. Stalin right after Kirov’s assassination decided to take part in the investigation, this could have done in order for him to manipulate the documents, something which Russia had done for ages, especially with the Secret police. Also the death of the bodyguard of Kirov right before he had an interview with Stalin is also very suspicious, it suggests that Stalin also planned this murder because he didn’t want any possible very vital witnesses like Borisnov.

I chose the book Stalin by Robert Conquest because he is a very well-known American historian about mostly Russia history and agrees that Stalin was involved in Kirov’s assassination. He states that Stalin not only sanctioned Kirov's assassination, but used it as a justification for the terror that culminated in 1937 and 1938[7]. His opinion is quite relevant to my research question of whether Stalin was or not involved in Kirov’s assassination because he is a very considerable historian in Russian history. However his opinions are not the most important ones as he is not Russian and did not live in Russia during Kirov’s assassination but he did live during the time it happened. Nevertheless, as I said before, he is a very significant historian and his opinion is not vital but is to be very considered as he is a specialist on Russian history and knows quite a lot about Communism as when he was in University he joined the Communist Party. His theory that Stalin was involved in Kirov’s murder and then used it as an excuse for the Purges, makes sense because Stalin did use it as an excuse for introducing new laws which said that political crime was illegal and that conspirators against Kirov would be murdered[8]. So Robert Conquest’s book was very helpful to answer this question because it gave me the point of view which is most accepted by most historians like Amy Knight and it is also a very realistic point of view.

Ullam a Polish famous writer who wrote the book Stalin: the man and his era, argues that if it was the case that Stalin wanted to get rid of Kirov, then why would he have done it this way[9]. The analysis that this writer makes through his book is a very significant as he disagrees with Robert Conquest and the theory that Stalin was involved in Kirov’s murder. His theory recognizes the obvious point that Stalin and Yagoda had a very bad relationship and thus Stalin was not very likely to have entrusted him for such a terrible mission[10], which was to take care of Kirov’s assassination. This book explains that it was too dangerous to instruct someone who you do not trust for a murder. This book makes you realize about the other point of view of this story, and so it is very valuable. Also the purpose of this book is to not only show what everyone thinks about the story and what is most obvious according to the situation by that time; it is to show the other part of the story which not many people might have known. This is that Stalin and Yagoda did not have a good relationship and that Stalin did not trust him because Yagoda did not obey Stalin’s orders sometimes. This source also argues that Stalin fired Yagoda after the assassination of Kirov happened, so Ulam suggests that it could have been that Stalin made him do this mission in order to have reasons to fire him on top of his other reasons to kill Kirov. Altogether, this book by Bruno Ulam suggests that Stalin had a genius plan to at the same time get rid of two people he disliked: Yagoda and Kirov. HE charged Yagoda for the assassination of Kirov and then blamed the assassination of Yagoda, and thus he got rid of the two.

After reading all those books and other useful sources about Stalin’s involvement in Kirov’s assassination and the assassination itself to answer my question of whether Stalin was or not involved in Kirov’s assassination, I come to the conclusion that Stalin was involved. I come to this conclusion because of the books from Conquest and Ulam. Conquest defends the theory that it was Stalin who planned the assassination and Ulam disagrees by saying that it was too much of a risk to do so, but then suggests that Stalin could have thought of charging this to Yagoda just to get rid of both. This last theory makes sense to the whole event. Stalin did not trust Yagoda and was probably not happy with him. Furthermore, Stalin was indeed training Yezhov to be the next Commissar of the NKVD0, and so he just wanted to get a justification to fire Yagoda. So Stalin ordered him to kill Kirov and then pretending that he cared so much about his comrade Kirov fired Yagoda. It is a very well-planned strategy where it can be said that “you kill two birds in one shot”.

In off the red, Ken Marks, page 178   Robert Conquest, The Great Terror, page 37   Stalin, Robert Service, page 314   Stalin , Man and his era, Adam Bruno Ullam   Stalin as a way of life, ( document 47) page 136   Stalin and the Kirov Murder, Robert Conquest

"Repression and Terror." Ibiblio - The Public's Library and Digital Archive. Web. 13 Dec. 2011. .
 [1] Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 37  [2] Stalin, Robert Service, page 314 first paragraph  [3] In off the red, Ken Marks, page 178  [4] Stalin , Man and his era, Adam Bruno Ullam  [5] Stalin as a way of life, document 47 page 136  [6] http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/k/knight-kirov.html  [7] Stalin and the Kirov Murder, Robert Conquest  [8] http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/soviet.exhibit/repress.html  [9] Ullam, Stalin: the man and his era page 385  [10] Ullam, Stalin: the man and his era page 385


To What Extent Was Stalin Responsible For The Murder of Sergei Kirov?

A. Plan of investigation 

In investigating Stalin’s complicity in Kirov’s murder, Stalin's possible motives and the relationship between the two will be investigated. Pertinent evidence surrounding the act of assassination will be examined through the use of historiographical analysis from prominent historians from different perspectives and countries. This investigation will not be limited to particular historians or books, but will be focused, on Amy Knight and Grover Furr, with whom I have had personal correspondence. The choice of these historians, stems from their different approaches to the topic, their different conclusions on the topic and their different contextual grounding in writing their respective books. This investigation will not entertain any other theories behind Kirov’s assassination, and instead will focus entirely on Stalin’s culpability.

B. Summary of evidence 

Stalin’s daughter wrote, “[my father] liked him [Kirov] and was attached to him”. A.T. Rybin, the head of Stalin’s bodyguard wrote, “Stalin and Kirov were very close; Kirov was the only person with whom Stalin would take a steam bath naked.” Historian, Dmitri Volkogonov stated, “there was probably no other party figure for whom Stalin showed such care and affection.” 
Unlike Stalin, Kirov was an ethnic Russian who was considered more eloquent, charismatic and likeable. 
At the 17th party congress in January 1934, Stalin received 300 more negative votes than Kirov. Party leaders proposed Kirov taking over Stalin’s position, which Kirov refused to consider, and reported to Stalin. At the congress, Kirov publicly pushed for Stalin’s agenda of realignment of dissident party members to Stalinist policy. 
During the Ryutin affair, Kirov opposed Stalin's position with “particular force against the recourse to the death penalty,” as well as Stalin’s economic policy.

Days before Kirov’s assassination, Stalin ‘reportedly’ ordered NKVD Commisar, Genrikh Yagoda to replace Aleksandr Mdved with Grigory Yevdokmov, who wasn’t loyal to Kirov, at the helm of the Leningrad office of the NKVD involved in looking after Kirov’s security. Kirov overturned the order, at which point Stalin ‘reportedly’ ordered Kirov’s murder.

The assassin, Leonid Nikolayev suffered a poor and deprived childhood, suffering rickets, resulting in a weak and small stature, condemning him to poor health for the rest of his life. At the time of Nikolayev was 30 years old, unemployed, and married with two young children. He had been a member of the communist party since the age sixteen but unable to keep a steady job. He resented the communist party he felt he had dedicated his life to, and in Mathew Leone’s words was an “isolated loner full of rage against party bureaucracy.” He had written letters to both Kirov and Stalin venting his anger. 
In the winter of 1934 Nikolayev wrote in his diary, “The money has run out, we will borrow. Today my supper consists of two glasses of sour clotted milk.” In October 1934 he wrote, “I am now ready for anything and no one can stop me. I am making preparations like Zhenlinbov” [Alexander II's assassin]. 

At 4:30pm Kirov arrived at the Smolnyi and his personal bodyguard, Borisov, met him. He made his way to the third floor with Borisov trailing, where none of the guards assigned to that floor were on guard.. After turning the corner to his office, Nikolyev shot Kirov in the back of the neck with a Nagan revolver. 
After the assassination, Stalin immediately made his way to Leningrad to conduct the investigation. Stalin interrogated Nikolayev personally. Nikolayev’s diary was found containing the murder plot. Nikolayev was found guilty of the murder and executed days after the interrogation.  
Borisov, traveling in a truck full of NKVD agents, died in an incident on the way to his interrogation in which no one else was harmed. 

On December 1st Stalin issued a law stating that suspected lawbreakers could be detained and tried without an attorney and executed immediately if convicted, with no chance to appeal.  By December 4th thirty-nine people in Leningrad and twenty-two in Moscow were arrested as class enemies. ‘The Great Purge’ would follow in which thousands of party members implicated in a conspiracy to kill Kirov were executed.
During Khrushchev’s investigation in 1960-1961, the Soviet government concluded Stalin was not responsible.

C. Evaluation of Sources 

‘The Murder of Sergei Kirov: History, Scholarship and the Anti-Stalin Paradigm’ by Grover Furr, Kettering Ohio, Erythrós and Media, 2013 

Grover Furr is an American professor with an impressive command of the Russian language, a scholar of Russian literature and Soviet history he has published more than ten books on the period, in English and Russian. His understanding of Russian culture and language allows Furr greater insight into Russian archives and historiography on the Kirov murder. He is a supporter of Stalin and a Communist, allowing for a unique, provocative insight but opens him up to charges of bias with a hidden agenda to forward his own ideology. In response to this charge, he argues that it is taboo to not assume the worst of Stalin because of the legacy of the Cold War not only through Western hostility towards the USSR but Khrushchev’s own special commission which placed the blame for the murder at Stalin’s feet, compounding what he calls, "the anti-Stalin paradigm." This has resulted in him being ostracised from the historiographical community, as his views do not adhere to the “major officials” as he puts it. 

‘Who Killed Kirov’ by Amy Knight, New York, Hill and Wang, 1999 

Amy Knight has been described as “the West’s foremost expert on the NKVD/KGB.” Her book focuses on evidence specifically surrounding Kirov’s murder much like a lawyer making a case. This narrow scope is similar to my assessment and therefore makes it very valuable. Knight is an American historian, and therefore may be limited by the fact she is a western historian looking at Russian history. Grover Furr states in his email to me that Amy Knight is subject to the anti-Stalin paradigm; that is to say she has an inherent bias that had been indoctrinated into her by the anti-Soviet and anti-Stalin US media that would render her incapable of objectively studying Soviet history Despite this, she has dedicated her life to the study of Russian history culture and politics. In her books she has taken a generally negative view towards Stalin, which may have influenced her approach in her book, Who Killed Kirov, as well as her other scholarly works on the issue.

  D. Analysis 

The Kirov murder, “marked the approach of a sinister era” in which Stalin’s purges and repression killed thousands, even millions of people. It is hugely important to determine whether Stalin had played some part in the assassination of Kirov, especially in light of the somewhat suspect circumstances of his death.

The testimony of Stalin’s daughter and bodyguard show Stalin to be very close with Kirov. Volkogonov’s conclusion, drawn from his experiences interviewing people and studying documents about their relationship, reinforces the notion that Stalin and Kirov were close, making it less likely that Stalin would be willing to kill his friend, Kirov. These lack of motives on a personal level are contrasted Nikolayev’s personal resentment that would have had to act as a lone wolf. A squalid life of perceived mistreatment at the hands of the party and personal correspondence venting anger at Kirov, in addition to the dire straights he was in the months leading up to Kirov’s murder. Nikolayev had ample reason to murder Kirov of his own accord.

The case for Stalin’s involvement in Kirov’s murder starts with the real or perceived threat that Kirov posed to Stalin’s domination of the party. Kirov was an eloquent and charismatic ethnic Russian, as well as very likeable. Stalin did not posses these qualitiesand this became clear to Stalin and the whole party at the17th Party Congress in which Stalin received far more negative votes than Kirov. It is true, however, that this may have stemmed more from the swell of discontent over Stalin’s tightening grip on power than on Kirov’s strengths, but nevertheless framed Kirov as a potential competitor for power. This notion of competition from Kirov was reinforced by Kirov telling Stalin that members of the party had approached Kirov to usurp Stalin’s position as General Secretary, and although Kirov refused and reported it gave Stalin reason to be concerned.  Again during the Ryutin affair, Kirov was seen to be challenging Stalin’s position, however, the extent to which Kirov deviated from Stalin’s policies during Ryutin affair is contestable with historians such as Arch Getty claiming he openly criticized Stalin’s policy, whereas Grover Furr claims his reaction was far more docile. 

In the days leading up the murder of Kirov a series of suspect changes in the NKVD in Leningrad led Orlov to question whether Stalin had had some hand in these changes. The significance of these changes is that no guards where on third floor when Kirov arrived, a fact out of the ordinary and against procedure. If guards were on the floor they could have stopped Nikolayev. The problem with Orlov’s analysis is the orders to change the head of the NKVD in Leningrad came from Yagoda and it is Orlov’s assumption that Stalin had ordered Yagoda to do as he did. There is no factual evidence, only heresy, to support this, or that Yagoda or anyone inside the NKVD had any involvement in employing Nikolayev to kill Kirov. One action that can be put at the feet of Stalin is the 1st of December law. The repressive powers by December 4th allowed Stalin to arrest thirty-nine people in Leningrad and twenty-two in Moscow as class enemies in direct response to the Kirov Murder. The fact that this law was drafted in less than a day points to Stalin preparing this beforehand in anticipation of the murder. On the other hand Stalin could have been preparing a law like this and used Kirov’s murder as a opportunity to enact it, but did not have any part in the murder. The problem the claims shown, in this paragraph is that much of information to base this judgement on is “tenuous” as Furr claims and is based on testimony from unreliable sources with inconsistent stories and at some points downright fabrications.

In the immediate aftermath of Kirov’s murder Stalin, rapidly made his way to Leningrad to conduct the investigation himself. Volkagonov points to this as evidence of Stalin trying to cover-up his own complicity by controlling the investigation, but could also be seen as Stalin ensuring the validity of the investigation of his friends murder case. Because Nikolayev was executed only days after his interrogation it suggest that Stalin wanted to keep him quiet. In Stalin’s purges after the Kirov assassination most suspects where required to confess their guilt in front of show trials which often took place over long periods of time, but this did not happen to Nikolayev. Could Stalin have been trying to keep Nikolayev quiet, or is this yet another circumstantial piece of evidence? Moreover Borisov, Kirov’s personal bodyguard, was killed on the way to his interrogation in a truck full of NKVD agents; he was the only person injured in any way, further reinforcing the narrative that someone was trying to keep quiet the closest thing to possible to witnesses. 

It appears that much of evidence implicating Stalin is circumstantial and based less on hard facts than hearsay and at times unreliable testimony. On the other hand, there is a great weight of circumstantial evidence to the extent that it is not hard to see why some believe this is more than a coincidence.

E. Conclusion 

Stalin’s complicity in Kirov’s murder relies on circumstantial evidence and hearsay and if based in fact would appear to suggest a conspiracy that could involve Stalin. It is however not and I must therefore conclude that Khrushchev investigation stating no condemning evidence exists implicating Stalin in Kirov’s murder, is true. Nikolayev resented the party that he felt had failed him and in all likelihood acted alone. Nikolayev acting alone to kill Kirov is not my conclusion, as I cannot for certain say that this was not party conspiracy as Grover Furr argues in his book, or some other reason, but what I can say is that Stalin was not involved to any extent, given the current information.

F. Bibliography 

"Kirov Murder." Message to Grover Furr. 12 Feb. 2014. E-mail.

Conquest, Robert. Stalin and the Kirov Murder. New York: Oxford Press, 1989. 

Furr, Grover. The Murder of Sergei Kirov: History, Scholarship and the Anti-Stalin 

Paradigm. Kettering, OH: Erythrós and Media, 2013.

Getty, J. Arch. Origins of the Great Purges. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985. p. 23.

Knight, Amy. Who Killed Kirov?. New York: Hill and Wang, 1999.

Lenoe, Mathew E. "Did Stalin Kill Kirov and Does It Matter?" Journal of Modern 
History. Chicago: University of Chicago., n.d. 74. Print.

Lenoe, Matthew E. The Kirov Murder and Soviet History. New Haven: Yale UP, 2010. 

Martin, Lloyd. ‘The Logic of Vladimir Putin’. The New York Times. June 22, 2011.

Nicolaevsky Boris. Power and the Soviet Elite: The Letter of an Old Bolshevik and Other Essays. London: Pall Mall Press, 1966.

Orlov, Alexander. The Secret History Of Stalin’s Crimes. New York: Random House, 1953.

Volkogonov, Dmitriĭ Antonovich. "Stalin and Kirov." Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.


Did Stalin order Kirov’s assassination?

 Plan of Investigation

Did Stalin order Kirov’s assassination?
  To determine this works will be consulted from leading historians such as Matthew Lenoe, Robert Conquest and Adam Ulam, many of whom are University professors who have studied Stalinist history in depth and have enjoyed access to secret documents from Russian archives. Other key authorities will include Russian historians Dimitri Volkogonov, whose access to crucial documents from all secret archives and interviews of hundreds of witnesses were extensively used for his book,[1] and Alla Kirilina, the leading contemporary expert on Kirov’s murder in Russia[2]. Further support will come from a range of primary sources from interviews with the alleged assassin and Kirov’s main guard, protocols made by police and letters from the accused written directly to Stalin will be used to ascertain legitimacy and allegations of fraud.

      Words: 132

Summary of evidence

1.Kirov (1886-1934) and Stalin
   Sergei Mironovich Kostrikov (later Kirov) was a Bolshevik working as a professional revolutionary fighting the regime of Tzar Nicholas the second. In 1926 he was chosen by Stalin to help eliminate Zinoviev’s followers from Leningrad and from 1928 and during early 1930s Kirov was working with Stalin implementing his Five-Year-Plan. [3] After the Seventeenth Congress Kirov was given a position of a Secretariat[4] and he was in charge of heavy industry and timber industry. Stalin and Kirov were very close friends and often spent vacations together. Stalin treated Kirov with warmth and affection, sharing with him his private thoughts.[5]

2.The Seventeenth Congress (‘The Congress of Victors’)
 The Seventeenth Congress was held in February 1934[6] and during this Congress Stalin talked about the industrial and agricultural achievements over the last three years. The numerous speeches were held which were praising Stalin[7]. Stalin was against democracy because he felt that this would restrict his freedom. This fact however worried Communists within the party, especially those from an old Leninist group. They felt that Stalin is becoming a dictator and they thought that it was time for him to abandon the position of the General Secretary. During the last few days of the Congress elections within the party were held to choose new members of the Central Committee, the new organs of the party and the Politburo. The results were unexpected; 300 delegates out of 1225 voted against Stalin[8] compared to only 3 against Kirov. Only 3 votes against Stalin were kept and the rest was destroyed, thus Stalin retained his position of the General Secretary.[9]

3. Kirov’s murder
On the 1st of December Kirov had been preparing report for the Aktiv of Leningrad Party, which he was expected to deliver at Tavrichesky Palace that evening.  At 4.00 p.m Kirov entered Smolny, even though no one expected him to be there[10]. When Kirov entered the corridor, which led into his office, the assassin, Leonid Nikolayev, shot him with a gun. On hearing the gun Party officials came running in.[11]
  Some circumstances of the murder are suspicious. There were no bodyguards beside Kirov when he was shot, not even his main bodyguard Borisov[12]. On the 2nd of December, Borisov, who was the only witness to the crime was taken to be questioned by Stalin[13]. The car, which took him for questioning got into an accident and Borisov was the only one in a car who died[14].  The other possible eyewitnesses, the Leningrad NKVD chiefs were taken to jail and in 1937 shot[15].
Twenty seven days after the murder an official sentence was published which stated that Nikolaev was a member of Trotskyite-Zinovievite terrorist group. Everyone associated with this group had been arrested and then shot.  Leaders of the group, Kamenev and Zinoviev received five and ten years respectively. All sentences were approved by Stalin.[16]   From 1938 until 1956 it was widely accepted that Zinoviev, Kamenev and Trotzky organized the assassination.[17]

4.Zinoviev and Kamenev
 In 1901 Zinoviev became a member of the Communist Party and later he got a position as a chairman of the Executive Committee of Comintern. Before Lenin’s death Zinoviev, Kamenev and Stalin were trying to collaborate and got along well with each other. However it was on Stalin’s initiative that Zinoviev was removed from the party twice. In 1934 he and Kamenev were both arrested for the murder of Kirov and later shot.[18]

571 words

Evaluation of sources

Volkogonov, Dmitriĭ Antonovich. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. Rocklin, CA: Prima Pub, 1996. Print.

   Volkogonov’s position as Head of the Soviet army’s Institute of the Military History[19] gave him access to valuable secret documents, not available to others[20] including party, state, military and KGB archives and Stalin’s private letters[21]. His research is supported by evidence of hundreds of witnesses including KGB members whom Volkogonov personally interviewed.[22] Volkogonov revealed some of the previously unknown and shocking facts about Stalin such as discovery of hundreds of letters from prisoners asking for Stalin’s mercy[23]. This and the fact that Volkogonov’s father was murdered in purges in 1930s[24] made Volkogonov form negative opinion about Stalin. Volkogonov’s book was the first account of Stalin’s biography published 36 years after his death[25], which means that he had no access to other such bibliographies. This book would have been quite different if published after the collapse of Soviet Union. Once a Stalinist, later Volkogonov formed negative opinion about Bolshevik ideology and his account of Stalin’s life is quite subjective, at times asking “…How could Stalin be so cruel?” which one would not expect from a detached historian. [26] Additionally, Volkogonov’s purpose was to write Stalin’s bibliography and only a small section of the book focuses on Kirov’s murder. 

Lenoe, Matthew E. The Kirov Murder and Soviet History. New Haven: Yale UP, 2010. Print.

    Described by ‘Slavic Review’ as the most comprehensive and complete account of the Kirov’s murder to date using all the available documents and especially those recently released.[27] The 127 documents presented in the book support Lenoe’s view that Stalin was not involved in the murder[28]. In addition, Lenoe uses one rare document found by him, which is a Japanese publication by Genrikh Liushkov, who was a high-ranking member of secret police and who investigated the murder.[29] Lenoe focuses solely on Kirov’s murder, dealing with it in depth. An academic, he serves as a university lecturer and specializes in Russian and Soviet history – he is a recognized expert in this field. The book itself won the Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History sponsored by the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies. However, Lenoe did not access the most important document – the case file of the murder. He relied on the accounts of Sukharnikova, the director of Kirov museum, who previously accessed the case file[30]. Not being Russian or ever living in Soviet Russia, it is a challenge for him to appreciate the kind of atmosphere that was prevalent in the country either at the time when murder was committed or after. Lenoe’s book has no page numbers and this makes the search for key words more complicated because readers cannot be directed to a particular page.

Word count: 428


Kirov’ s murder, sometimes called ‘The Murder of the Century’[31], was a significant event in Soviet history because it marked the beginning of ‘The Great Terror’ in 1930s[32]. Thousands of innocent people, mostly Party Members and Stalin’s opponents were charged with the crime and subsequently executed. Millions more were sent to concentration camps[33]. It is crucial to understand who and for what reasons chose to eliminate a member of the ruling elite.   Stalin’s reaction to the killing was so rapid that it has been argued that he must have been prepared for this event.[34] As soon as he heard the news he ordered a train to Leningrad during which time he wrote down the ‘Law of December’, which stated that all the cases of accused of terrorism must be speeded up, that there should be an appeal and that the accused must be executed as soon as possible. [35] Indeed, Volkogonov was the first to point out that Stalin was in such haste that he did not even get this document signed by Kalinin, the Chairman of the Central Executive Committee[36]. It is difficult to imagine how such a document could have been prepared so quickly without considering the possible outcomes. Stalin must have thought about this well in advance.  

 Volkogonov fully describes Kirov as a rival whose growing popularity in the party was detrimental to Stalin’s success. [37] Stalin felt that his position was under threat after the secret ballot during the Seventeenth Congress, which showed that many people in the party were against him and wanted his removal[38]. After the election a number of old Bolsheviks asked Kirov to take the position of the General Secretary. Kirov refused but he told Stalin about this proposal[39].  This shows that Stalin knew how weak his position within the Party was and it is possible that he decided to eliminate Kirov. However, both Lenoe and Kirilina claim in their books that Kirov was not Stalin’s rival and that the idea of him becoming a General Secretary is absurd[40]. Their argument is that it is not the Party Congress who chose The General Secretary but the Central Executive Committee[41].
  Stalin blamed Zinoviev and Kamenev for the murder even though according to Volkogonov, Kamenev, Zinoviev and Trotzky were not involved in the assassination[42]. Stalin received numerous letters from Zinoviev where he confessed his innocence[43]. A letter handed to Stalin from Zinoviev on 17th of December 1934 said ‘ I am guilty of nothing, nothing, nothing before the party, before the Central Committee and before you personally’[44]. However Stalin wanted to remove Zinoviev and Kamenev because he felt that they threatened his authority[45]. It is possible that he used the murder of Kirov as a pretext to do this.
   However Robert Conquest claims that Nikolaev was the lone murderer; Stalin just made use of this assassination for his own purposes to further consolidate his power. [46] This view is supported by Matthew Lenoe who argues that Nikolaev had his own motives to kill Kirov. He claims that Nikolaev clearly stated the purpose of murder in   his testament –he wanted to communicate to bureaucrats about the injustice he and the working class had to suffer[47]. On the day of his murder Kirov was working on a new policy of ending of the bread rationing, which meant that the prices on bread would increase[48]. People were divided in their opinion regarding this policy. Some would have benefitted from it, whereas others mainly urban workers would not have. Some people hated Kirov for his support of collectivization and heavy taxation[49].  It is possible that Nikolaev was sent by a group of protesters to kill Kirov[50]. Many hoped that with Kirov’s death the bread rationing policy would be annulated and that there will also be more bread available[51].
Lenoe argues that Khruschev tried to prove Stalin’s involvement in the assassination and that he employed Shatunovskaya to investigate this[52]. However, Shatunovskaya did not find anything against Stalin[53] and the issue has been closed. This again supports the view that Stalin did not order the assassination because no evidence has been found against him.  
Word count: 686


 According to the available evidence, it appears likely that Stalin was involved in the assassination. His reaction to Kirov’s murder was unusually rapid and he seemed to know in advance about it. This is indicated by his quick draft of ‘Law of December’ on the way to Leningrad. As Volkogonov states, Stalin saw Kirov as a rival and a threat to his power, especially after the Seventeenth Congress when the majority of Delegates voted against Stalin and asked Kirov if he could replace him as The General Secretary. The elimination of Kirov enabled Stalin to consolidate his dictatorship and to remove any opponents from the Party, including Zinoviev and Kamenev. The murder marked the beginning of  ‘The Great Terror’ in which Stalin made great use of Kirov’s murder. Thousands of party members and official figures were charged with conspiracy of the crime and executed. With this Stalin removed his rivals and strengthened his power as a dictator.

Word count: 153

Total Word Count: 1970

Work cited

Benn, David Wedgwood. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International
  Affairs 1944-) 67.3 (1991): 596–596.

Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror: A Reassessment. New York: Oxford UP, 1990. Print.

Daniels, Robert Vincent. The End of the Communist Revolution. London: Routledge, 1993. Print.

Daniels, Robert Vincent. The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia. New Haven: Yale UP, 2007. Print.

Furr, Grover. Оболганный сталинизм. Клевета XX съезда (Obolgannyi Stalinizm. Kleveta XX S'ezda). Moscow: Algoritm, 2010. Print.

Gruliow, Leo. The Antioch Review 50.3 (1992): 591–591.

Haynes, John Earl, and Harvey Klehr. In Denial: Historians, Communism & Espionage. San Francisco, CA: Encounter, 2005. Print.

Hough, Jerry F., and Merle Fainsod. How the Soviet Union Is Governed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U.P., 1979. Print.

Knight, Amy W. Who Killed Kirov?: The Kremlin's Greatest Mystery. New York: Hill and Wang, 1999. Print.

Kuromiya, Hiroaki. "Review: The Kirov Murder and Soviet History." Slavic Review 70.3 (2011): 699-700. JSTOR. Web. 03 Nov. 2015.

Laqueur, Walter. Soviet Realities: Culture and Politics from Stalin to Gorbachev. New Brunswick, U.S.A.: Transaction, 1990. Print.

Lenoe, Matt. "Did Stalin Kill Kirov and Does It Matter?" The Journal of Modern History 74.2 (2002): 352-80. JSTOR. Web. 02 Nov. 2015.

Lenoe, Matthew E. The Kirov Murder and Soviet History. New Haven: Yale UP,      2010. Print.

Malia, Martin. The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia. New York, NY:   Free, 1992. Print.

Medvedev, Roy Aleksandrovich, and Zhores A. Medvedev. The Unknown Stalin: His Life, Death and Legacy. Woodstock, NY: Overlook, 2004. Print.

Payne, Stanley. Civil War in Europe, 1905–1949. New York: Cambridge U.P, 2011. Print.

Radzinskiĭ, Ėdvard. Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives. New York: Doubleday, 1996. Print.

Rimmel, Lesley A. "Another Kind of Fear: The Kirov Murder and the End of Bread Rationing in Leningrad." Slavic Review 56.3 (1997): 481-99. JSTOR. Web. 02 Nov. 2015.

Volkogonov, Dmitriĭ Antonovich. Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy. Rocklin, CA: Prima Pub, 1996. Print.

Zuehlke, Jeffrey. Joseph Stalin. Minneapolis: Lerner, 2006. Print.

[1] Haynes, John Earl; Klehr, Harvey (165)  [2] Furr, Grover (73)  [3] Knight, Amy (16)  [4] Hough, Jerry F.; Fainsod, Merie (160)  [5] Volkogonov, Dmitrii (205)  [6]  Payne, Stanley (107)  [7] Zuehlke, Jeffrey (68)  [8] Daniels, Robert Vincent (76)  [9] Ibid (199-200)  [10] Kirilina, Alla (151)  [11] Conquest, Robert (37)  [12] Lenoe, Matthew (Chapter 4)  [13] Kirilina, Alla (194)  [14] Lenoe, Matthew (Chapter 7)  [15] Conquest, Robert (51)  [16] Volkogonov, Dmitrii (208-209)  [17] Conquest, Robert (38)  [18] Volkogonov, Dmitrii (58-59)  [19] Gruliow, Leo. (50.3)  [20] Medvedev, Roy (65)  [21] Gruliow, Leo. (50.3)  [22] Ibid  [23] Benn, David Wedgwood. (596–596)  [24] Ibid  [25] Ibid  [26] Daniels, Robert Vincent (401)  [27] Kuromiya, Hiroaki. (699-700)  [28] Ibid  [29] Ibid  [30] Kuromiya, Hiroaki. (699-700)  [31] Malia, Martin (157)  [32] Lenoe, Matthew (Introduction)  [33] Ibid  [34] Volkogonov, Dmitrii (208)  [35] Lenoe, Matthew (Chapter 7)  [36] Volkogonov, Dmitrii (208)  [37] Volkogonov, Dmitrii (206)  [38] Hough, Fainsod (160)  [39] Radzinsky, Ėdvard.  (306)  [40] Kirilina, Alla (220)  [41] Lenoe, Matthew (Chapter 3)  [42] Volkogonov, Dmitrii (208)  [43] Kirilina, Alla (254)  [44] Volkogonov, Dmitrii (277)  [45] Ibid  [46] Conquest, Robert (38)  [47] Lenoe, Matthew (Chapter 11)  [48] Rimmel, Lesley (481)  [49] Ibid  [50] Lenoe Mathew (Chapter 14)  [51] Ibid  [52] Lenoe, Matthew (Chapter 15)  [53] Ibid   


Did Stalin order Kirov’s assassination? 

Section 1: Identification and evaluation of sources

The focus of this investigation will be “Did Stalin order Kirov’s assassination?” and will primarily focus on historical evidence which gives reason that Stalin could potentially have ordered Kirov’s assassination.

Source: The Murder of Sergei Kirov by Grover Furr, published in 2013

Furr is an American professor at the Montclair State University in medieval English literature. Indeed, Furr had never formally studied History yet is mostly known for his many books on Stalin and his particular distinct view on him. This makes him valuable, because he has particular insight into the topic and has already done much research in this field, having enjoyed access to primary documents.
Despite his insight, he wrote as a revisionist, meaning that he could have been impacted by other historians and their viewpoint(s). Published so long after the event had allowed time for Furr to critically analyze other viewpoints of historians and evidence published so far.
At first glance, the purpose of the book is to show Stalin’s innocent in the Kirov’s assassination. The main purpose of Furr is really to criticize other historians for claiming Stalin’s guilt without “looking behind the scenes”[1]. Nevertheless, this is valuable, because he provides a different view of Kirov’s assassination and more importantly, Stalin’s involvement in it; what sets Furr apart is that he is one of very few historians who claim that Stalin has never killed a man.[2]

Source: Stalin and the Kirov Murder by Robert Conquest published in 1989

Conquest was a British-American historian who wrote some influential works on the Soviet Union. He was traditionally conservative, worked for Stanford and wrote many books on the Soviet Union and Stalin, examining the crimes committed by Stalin and, given that he is conservative, is particularly anti-Stalin[3].
Given that he was a long-time researcher at Stanford University on Stalinist topics such as the relation between Stalin and Kirov, the value is that he therefore has a lot of insight into personal documents and memorials, which further strengthened his knowledge about this topic. However, a limiting factor is that not all the Soviet documents he read were truthful and trustworthy.
The publication year of this source is valuable, for it suggests that the source, having been written after the collapse  of the Soviet Union, is able to look at the Kirov assassination being aware of the politics and Stalin’s rage on the Soviet Union after his death, thus, in the big picture.
This book is of particular value given its focus on Stalin in relation to Kirov’s assassination, as well as his political differences with Kirov.
The purpose of this source is to primarily collect all prior historical research about the Kirov assassination, which supposes Stalin as the assassin which was limiting as it provided a one-sided argument and excludes all other suspects in the Kirov case except Stalin. Despite this, Conquest uses many historians like Medvedev to build a solid argument and though whom offer particular insight into different viewpoints and arguments. On the other hand, all historians used might not be reliable as they might be right or left winged and thus have a different perception of Stalin.  

Section 2: Investigation

Kirov was murdered on the 1st December 1934 by an unknown assassin in the Smolny institutes. It is crucial, because not only was Kirov a threat to Stalin, but also what followed the aftermath of Kirov’s assassination was without doubt the “bloodiest round of Stalin’s terror and repression”.[4]

The view argued by Conquest is that Stalin ordered the assassination of Kirov, because Kirov was increasingly getting more public support than Stalin. In his book he exclaims, that it was in the atmosphere that a ‘Kirov line’ started to emerge as an alternative to Stalin’s’[5].
He refers to the 17th Party Congress and later the 17th Politburo Congress as being the two events where one could clearly see a Kirov line emerging.
At the 17th Party Congress (26th January - 10th February 1934) Kirov held a speech, which, argued by Conquest, received as much applause as one would give to Stalin” [6]. In his speech Kirov urged a policy of reconciliation, demanding that all those who opposed the government’s policy on collective farms and industrialization, should be released from prison.[7] Many applauded this policy, however Stalin did not. Stalin sought for people who were opposed to his government policies on collective farming and industrialization, to be prisoned or even secretly murdered.[8]
The aftermath of the 17th Party Congress was the 17th Politburo. The 17th Politburo (10th February 1934 - 22nd March 1939) was extremely crucial, because for the first time one could see the socio-political differences in ideologies between Stalin and Kirov. The candidates taking part in the 17th Politburo could vote for Kirov or Stalin and as we now know, Stalin received fewer votes than Kirov. Besides Conquest, other historians like Seligman Favorov and Barmine agree on this fact. [9] Stalin was furious that Kirov had more votes than him and, because he couldn’t stand this disgrace, he manipulated the votes so that he had plenty more votes than Kirov did [10].
With Kirov increasing his popularity, the troubles for Stalin to stay in power and maintain his strict policies grew. Therefore, Stalin had to find a solution to get rid of Kirov. Claimed by Conquest and agreed by Barmine and Knight, it was highly possible that Stalin ordered Nikolaev to assassin Kirov[11]. Conquest recalls that Nikolaev was once a member of the young Soviet Communist Party and therefore had the card to enter all rooms in the Smolny offices. However, Nikolaev was arrested on 15th October 1934 by the NKVP (three months before Kirov was found dead), because he was caught walking in and around the Smolny Institue, to which he was denied access to [12] . After Nikolayev’s arrest something still appeared to be odd. The fact that Nikolaev could, despite his suspension, still enter the Smolny Institue hints at an involvement of a second person from inside the party. Therefore, Khrushchev claimed that, “There are reasons for the suspicion that the killer of Kirov, Nikolayev, was assisted by someone from among the people whose duty it was protect the person of Kirov,” [13]. His assumption is built on the fact that all bodyguards were withdrawn from Kirov’s room and as Barmine argues, “On the 1st December of 1934, the usual guard post at the entrance to Kirov’s office was left unmanned” [14]. The reason for depicting Stalin as Nikolayev’s assistant is that he was the man responsible for the safety of Kirov and the presence of all bodyguards. Furthermore, Barmins claims, “with Stalin's alleged approval, the NKVD had previously withdrawn the remaining guards manning the security desk at Smolny” 10.
In conclusion, Conquests main argument is that Stalin ordered Nikolaev to assassin Kirov, because, for his means, Kirov was getting too popular and powerful. He picked Nikolaev out, because he was already comfortable with the insides of the Smolny Institutes and thus could make his way quickly in and out of the Institutes.

However, a very different view on Kirov’s assassination is offered by Furr who, unlike Conquest, doesn’t take Stalin as Kirov’s assassin and even claims his un-involvement[15]. His main argument is that Stalin certainly didn’t order to kill Kirov and that “he did everything that was possible to find the assassin of Kirov”. Furthermore, he argues that historians like Conquest and Knight only use evidence that fit into their theory and ignore everything else [16].
As argued by Furr, the most important detail ignored by Conquest was probably Khrushchev’s memoirs and primary documents linked to Khrushchev’s relation to Kirov’s assassination.[17] In the 1960 investigations he blamed Stalin for Kirov’s assassination, however, he had no evidence to support this and had to conclude Stalin’s un-involvement[18]. Due to his ‘failure’, Khrushchev than adopted the lone-gunman theory, claiming that Nikolaev alone was responsible for Kirovs murder[19].
Furr sees a big issue with the information published in most books about Kirov’s assassination, because these only show why Stalin could have murdered Kirov, but ignore the reasons Stalin had to not kill Kirov. He argues that, even if one claimed Stalin’s innocents of Kirov’s assassination, this would mean “throwing out the whole ‘anti-Stalin’ paradigm that has structured Soviet historiography in the West for 50 years” [20]. He concludes, that older historians and the people at that time tried to find the guilty Soviet – and Stalin, after his death, was found to be perfect for pushing all the blame on.
Another aspect that Furr argues, is that most of the primary document of the 1930s are still keep secret in Russia today[21]. He mentions that Conquest doesn’t even bother to talk about these documents, but that his claim is built only upon false evidence and assumptions he’s making. Unlike others, Furr calls the question to mind, if these primary documents could be the missing puzzle pieces[22]. This isn’t even considered by Conquest and thus he is in the wrong position to claim Stalin’s involvement in the Kirov assassination. Furr’s view gets supported by people like Liuskov, a member of the NKVD, who claims that, “Stalin had nothing to do with the assassination”. [23]
Furr is indeed supported by a minority of people in his view, however, these people and historians seem to be unpresented in most modern history books and deliberately, maybe purposely, ignored because their view disagrees to the Stalin paradigm.

Despite the view delivered by Furr, most modern historians agree that the chance of Stalin’s involvement in Kirov’s assassination was actually quite high and also very reasonable. Historians like Matthew E. Lenoe, who Conquest uses in his book, argue that, “One point that justifies Stalin’s involvement in the Kirov assassination is that he used the murder of Kirov as a justification for persecution of his enemies[24]”. His assumption is supported by more modern historians like J. Arch Getty and Oleg Naumov who also agree, that “he organized the assassination for this very purpose”[25]. Given the evidence and the many viewpoints of historians and famous political figures like Khrushchev that effectively argue and evaluate why Stalin is to blame for Kirov’s assassination , it seems like Stalin was involved in the Kirov assassination

Section C: Reflection

This investigation has allowed me to gain insight into the views of a variety of different historians regarding Stalin’s involvement in the Kirov assassination. I gained insight into the people of Sergei Kirov and Stalin, as well as the Soviet policies in 1934 to 1943. I had access to many documents of the Soviet archives and personal letters between members of the NKVD. Especially these documents have allowed me to travel back in time and reflected on the circumstances of Kirov’s assassination.  I analysed the historians Conquest and Furr in detail, but found many other historians supporting or critiquing them. The viewpoints by these different historians has allowed me to gain more knowledge and insight into different perspectives and theories about why Kirov had to die in 1934. Many historians have provided me with two controversial theories; one being that Stalin was guilty in the Kirov murder and the other being that Stalin was totally uninvolved in Kirov’s assassination.
During researching and writing about this topic, I have developed skills, which are fundamental for historians in order to reach a justified conclusion. One important skill I have developed is weighting out different perspectives and reaching a conclusion that considers both sides of the argument.
However, the most difficult part in my investigation was that all too often we are swayed by famous historians and forget the not so famous historians. This is most notably seen when comparing Conquest and Furr, because Furr seems to be more popular and therefore receives more praises for his book. This is a problem, because other modern historians only look upon Conquests opinion, but ignore opinions like the one of Furr. The problem with this is, how do I determine how reliable a historian is and to what scale do historians only praise one another to support the same view.
The most crucial thing I learned during my investigation was, that Kirov was the man who would have pushed Stalin down. By eliminating Stalin, Kirov would have had the leading role in the Soviet Union and the regime would be under his politics. Therefore, I wonder, if Kirov, had he not been killed, could have prevented such an escalation in the 1930s and even the role of the Soviet Union during Cold War.


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Chlevnjuk, Oleg V. Master of the House: Stalin and His Inner Circle. New Haven: Yale U, 2009. Print.

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FOOTNOTES:  [1] Furr, Grover. Personal email, 28th October 2016.  [2] Hoffman, Gabriella. "Professor Grover Furr Praises Stalin, Claims He Never Committed 'One Crime'." Frontpage Mag.   [3] "Robert Conquest, Historian - Obituary." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group.  [4] Khrushchev, N.S., On the Cult of the Individual and Its Consequences, London (1989) [5] Conquest, Stalin and the Kirov murder, page 23  [6] Getty and Manning, Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives, page 45  [7] Getty, Origins of the Great Purges, page 94  [8] Conquest, Stalin, page 150 [9] Vitalʹevich Khlevniuk and Seligman Favorov, Master of the House: Stalin and his Inner Circle, page 109 [10] Vitalʹevich Khlevniuk and Seligman Favorov, Master of the House: Stalin and his Inner Circle, page 109 [11] Barmine, One Who Survived, page 196 [12] Radzinsky, Stalin: The first in-depth biography based on explosive new documents from Russia’s secret archives, page 321 [13]  Khrushchev, On the Cult of the Individual and Its Consequences, page 21 [14] Barmine, One Who Survived, pages 247-252 [15] Rimmel, Lesley A. "Volume 56, Issue 3." Another Kind of Fear: The Kirov Murder and the End of Bread Rationing in Leningrad. 1997. 481-99.  [16] Furr, Grover. “The Murder of Sergei Kirov, page 405  [17] Furr, Grover. “The Murder of Sergei Kirov, page 409 [18] Furr, Grover. “Khrushchev’s Lied”, page 269 [19] Furr, Grover. “Khrushchev’s Lied”, page 270 [20] Furr, Grover. “The Murder of Sergei Kirov, page 407 [21] Furr, Grover. “The Murder of Sergei Kirov, page 397 [22] Furr, Grover. “The Murder of Sergei Kirov, page 408 [23] Rimmel, Lesley A. "Volume 56, Issue 3." Another Kind of Fear: The Kirov Murder and the End of Bread Rationing in Leningrad. N.p.: n.p., 1997. 481-99 [24] E. Lenoe, The Kirov Murder and Soviet History, page 127  [25] Getty, Origins of the Great Purges, pages 207-210