Synopses & Reviews
On December 1, 1934, a lone gunman shot and killed Sergei Kirov, Secretary of the Central and Leningrad Party Organization, member of the Moscow Politburo, and once considered Joseph Stalin's possible successor. As one of the most significant crimes of the century, the assassination not only sealed the fates of thousands--and, indirectly, millions--of people spuriously connected to the killer, but it eliminated the second most powerful man in Russian politics and gave Stalin free rein to dominate Soviet policy.
Written by the highly acclaimed author of The Harvest of Sorrow, Stalin and the Kirov Murder presents the first book-length examination of the case. Robert Conquest chronicles the details of the Kirov affair and all of its astonishing consequences. He tells us that now, fifty-five years after Kirov's murder, glasnost has prompted a new examination of this singular crime--one that will perhaps reveal the truth about the case for the first time. Based on all the available evidence, including official documents as well as the reports of numerous Russian defectors, Conquest has written a fascinating, at times chilling, account of the murder and its aftermath. He firmly establishes that Stalin not only sanctioned Kirov's assassination, but used it as a justification for the terror that culminated in 1937 and '38.
"When the executioners are executed, then the executioners of the executioners, then ...sometimes one loses track of the original victim. In one of the most consequential murders of this century, the second-ranking Soviet official (behind Stalin), Sergei Kirov, fell to an assassin in December 1934. Who gained? Above all Stalin, who was rid of a potential rival, a man genuinely popular in the Communist Party and the country at large. But how to prove that Stalin ordered the killing? Khrushchev began an investigation that by 1964 had produced more than 100 volumes of evidence, evidence now slowly reemerging under glasnost. Until all the facts are in this book stands as the best summary of the circumstantial evidence in the public domain." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
About the Author
About the Author -
Robert Conquest, Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of several books, including The Great Terror: A Reassessment.