Sergey Mironovich Kirov
In Soviet times, the activity of S.M.Kirov in Leningrad and his personality were mythologized in the image of a martyr as he was a faithful follower of Lenin and Stalin. He died for the ideals of Bolshevism. In his honour cities, streets were named. Soviet artists, sculptors, writers, poets, filmmakers eternalized Kirov’s memory. Sergei Myronovych was a man of his day. He governed the Leningrad in a difficult, violent and controversial Stalin era.
Sergey Kostrikov, the future revolutionary Kirov, was born in the town of Urzhum, Vyatka province. He soon became an orphan, grew up and was brought up in a shelter. In the autumn of 1901 he left for Kazan, entered the Kazan Lower Mechanical-Technical Industrial School, and graduated with a first-degree award. In the same year he began working as a draftsman in the city of Tomsk and studying at the preparatory courses of the Tomsk Institute of Technology.
In Tomsk, Sergei Kostrikov began his revolutionary activities. In November 1904, he joined the RSDLP. In 1905, after the start of the First Russian Revolution, he participated in a demonstration for the first time and was arrested by the police. In July 1905, the city party conference elected Kostrikova a member of the Tomsk Committee of the RSDLP. A year later, for revolutionary activities, he was under arrest and went to prison for a year and a half.
Shortly after his release, he arrived in Vladikavkaz, where he became a leading employee of the North Caucasian cadet newspaper "Terek". In Vladikavkaz, he first used the pseudonym Kirov. In the spring of 1918, Kirov became a member of the Terek Regional Council, and in November was elected a delegate to the Sixth All-Russian Congress of Soviets. In 1919 - the chairman of the provisional revolutionary committee in Astrakhan, led by the suppression of the counter-revolutionary rebellion, became a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Red Army.
From January 1919, Kirov and Ordzhonikidze led the offensive of the 11th Army in the North Caucasus; On March 30, the army occupies Vladikavkaz, and on May 1 - Baku, where it helps the rebel workers to overthrow the power of the Musavatists and restore Soviet power. On May 29, 1920, Kirov was appointed plenipotentiary of the RSFSR in Georgia, where the Mensheviks seized power. April 16–22, 1921, Kirov directed the work of the constituent congress of the Mountain ASSR in Vladikavkaz. In early July 1921, he was elected secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan. Kirov is one of the founders of the TSFSR.
Kirov’s party work in the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia is a special page of his biography, and his personal contribution to the establishment of Soviet power in the region cannot be overestimated. So, in February 1921, having established cooperation with the Ossetian rebels, Kirov suggested that part of the troops be led through the Mamison Pass, which was considered impassable in winter. Sergei Mironovich met with the mountaineers, talked with old men, and found good guides. Having brilliantly organized the transfer of a part of the 11th army through the Mamison Pass, Kirov had a lot of help in expelling the Mensheviks from Georgia. In Azerbaijan, Sergey Mironovich was doing a lot of work to restore the national economy of Baku.
The XIV Congress of the CPSU (b), held in December 1925, at which Joseph Stalin delivered a report and proposed a course towards the industrialization of the country, caused discontent among anti-Stalinist opposition circles. The Trotskyist-Zinoviev bloc, which operated in Leningrad, actually seized all power there. Zinoviev, who was at the head of the so-called “new opposition,” tried to set the Leningrad party organization in opposition to the center, i.e. Central Committee. This could lead to a split in the party. The inner-party struggle at that time was class-oriented, since the fate of the country was decided: to remain agrarian, NEP, or to start building a new industrial socialist society. S.M.Kirov, V.M.Molotov, K.E. Voroshilov, G.S.Ordzhonikidze were sent to Leningrad to expose the treacherous policy of the Zinoviev group. As a result of their meetings and conversations with the workers of the factories and factories of Leningrad and explaining the situation to them, Zinoviev and his supporters were removed from their posts.
It is not surprising that Sergei Kirov, a person of firm convictions, capable of decisive actions, and, just as importantly, able to listen and understand the party masses, to find precise and understandable words for explanations, was elected in 1926 as the first secretary of the Leningrad Provincial Committee (Regional Committee) and the city party committee. As part of the Central Committee group, he was sent to Leningrad to fight ideologically against the Zinoviev opposition. This work was extremely complex: the ideas of the right opposition have penetrated into many, including workers, grassroots party organizations. Kirov attended meetings of almost all the plants of Leningrad. During the year he made more than 180 speeches. Sergei Mironovich Kirov became his and for the party and non-party residents of Leningrad. When it happens the rapid development of the industry of the city.
In 1930 S.M.Kirov became a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) and a member of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR. In 1931, SM Kirov was awarded the Order of Lenin for his merits in the struggle for socialist reconstruction. By 1934, Sergei Kirov’s party activities were taking off. He was awarded the Order of Lenin for outstanding services in the restoration and reconstruction of the country's oil industry, a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), delegate to the XVII Party Congress.
On the evening of December 1, 1934, in Smolny, where the Leningrad city committee and the regional committee of the CPSU (b) were located, Kirov was shot in the back of the head by Leonid Nikolaev. The newspaper "Pravda" wrote: “Comrade Kirov was a sample of a Bolshevik who did not know the fear and difficulties in achieving the great goal set by the party. His directness, iron endurance, his amazing qualities of the inspired tribune of the revolution combined in him with the warmth and gentleness in personal comradely and friendly relations, with the radiant kindness and modesty that are inherent to the real Leninist ”(Pravda, 1934, December 2).
On 02 December, Joseph Stalin, along with other leaders of the country, arrived in Leningrad. He wanted to interrogate the guard Mikhail Borisov, who in Smolny for a few minutes had released Kirov from his sight, and this the killer took advantage of. For questioning Borisov was taken in a truck, that had an accident. The guard Borisov was killed, while other people in the car who accompanied Borisov escaped with only bruises and injuries. In fact, he was killed in order not to extradite the organizers of the murder of Kirov. Soon the NKVD officers who escorted the guard were shot.
The act of terror, the victim of which was the fiery party tribune and the eminent organizer Sergey Mironovich Kirov, and the country's leadership, and its citizens were perceived as an attempt by the enemies of the Soviet government to deliver another blow to the socialist values they hated.
After N.S.Khrushchev’s report at a closed meeting of the 20th Party Congress, the official propaganda of the USSR insistently introduced into the consciousness of Soviet people the version that the Stalin personality cult triumphed at the XVII Congress was the main cause of all mistakes, abuses and crimes committed by the Soviet leadership. Stressing that mass and unsubstantiated repression unfolded after the murder of a member of the Politburo, secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) and first secretary of the Leningrad regional party committee, S.M.Kirov, on December 1, 1934, Khrushchev transparently hinted at Stalin’s responsibility for organizing this crime. At the same time, it is known that the efforts of the commission of the Central Committee of the CPSU, specially created by Khrushchev in order to prove Stalin’s guilt in the murder of Kirov, proved to be in vain. Attempts those undertaken in the mid-1980s to find "irrefutable evidence" of Stalin’s guilt in the murder of Kirov were also unsuccessful. And yet, to the version of Khrushchev some stubbornly return and popularize it.
After the famous XX Congress of the CPSU, where the personality cult of Joseph Stalin was exposed, six different commissions tried to establish the truth. However, today it is not possible to say that this story is full. Although the killer - Leonid Nikolayev - was detained a few minutes after the fatal shots were fired.
The end of 1933 - the beginning of 1934 was a time of high-profile political crimes. On December 19, 1933 the Romanian prime minister Ion Duca was killed, July 15, 1934 - Yugoslav King Alexander, on October 9 - Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Louis Barthes. All of these crimes were organized by the special services of Nazi Germany. Leningrad Chekists began to investigate the murder of Kirov, but soon he was handed over to the Moscow team, which was headed by the Commissar of Internal Affairs Heinrich Yagoda. The development of the German track immediately ceased.
In January 1939, a trial was held on 12 leaders of the NKVD of Leningrad. It turned out that the People's Commissar of the NKVD of the USSR Yagoda and the leaders of the NKVD Administration for the city of Leningrad Medved, Zaporozhets and others participated in the plot against S.M.Kirov. They confessed to this and were shot.
By one account, the murder was prepared by Western intelligence services, in particular the Polish. The version exists only in connection with the fact that almost everyone illegally repressed in the 1930s were accused of close relations with any of the foreign special services. All that is known about the activities of the special services of some states in relation to others suggests that in the twentieth century, at least in peacetime, such tasks — the destruction of leaders and heads of state — were not conducted.
Accoding to one version, the murder was organized by the White Guards. Information about this slipped right after the tragedy in a number of publications. It was reported that people involved in the crime were shot in various places. But later nobody remembered about the Whites. By another version, the murder was organized by supporters of G. Zinoviev and L. Kamenev, who occupied major party and state posts in the first post-October decade. In the role of supporters of these well-known personalities, "turned out" Nikolaev and another 13 of Leningrad, united by the investigation into a terrorist group. December 29, 1934 they were sentenced to death, and an hour later they were shot.
There are three more common versions of the crime. The first is that a major party leader was killed by a lone terrorist who was driven by either offense or jealousy. The second is that Kirov was destroyed on the unofficial instructions of Stalin, who saw in him a contender for the post of the country's leader, and therefore feared. The third - the leader of the Leningrad communists was removed by people who were in opposition to the Stalinist course.
The author of the idea of Stalin’s involvement in the murder of Kirov, the first to put forward this particular version (and made it public), was Lev Davidovich Trotsky. Alla Kirilina drew attention to the fact that the arguments in a special note on the murder of S.M.Kirov, prepared for N.S.Khrushchev by P.N.Pospelov, often textually coincide with what Trotsky wrote in the “Bulletin of the Opposition” in 1934—1939. Naturally, Stalin could not fail to make Trotsky respond to the “courtesy”, and the Soviet side considered him, that is, Trotsky himself, among the supporters of “terror against the leaders of the USSR”.
Various authors argue that Stalin decided to get rid of Kirov, in order to suppress the opposition within the Politburo. Long before Khrushchev’s statement that there was a “healthy” alternative to Stalin in the party after the defeat of the “oppositions” and “deviations”, I. Deucher ranked Kirov, Voroshilov, Kalinin and Rudzutak among the “liberals” of the Stalinist Politburo. Claiming that Kirov was the exact opposite of Stalin in moral, ethical, ideological and political terms, Robert Conquest remarked that “around the middle of 1934, Stalin concluded that there was only one way to prevent a weakening of his regime and to maintain the suppression of freedoms. He had to kill Kirov.”
But the main reason for Stalin’s hatred for Kirov is considered by many to be that the Secretary-General saw his rival in the leader of the Leningrad party organization. R. Medvedev in his book “On Stalin and Stalinism” claimed that in 1934 at the 17th Congress of the CPSU (b) “when the counting commission opened the ballot boxes on the night of February 9-10, it turned out that Stalin received the smallest number of votes compared to other candidates for membership in the Central Committee. “Only 3 votes were cast against Kirov, 270 delegates to the congress voted against Stalin.” The results were falsified, and members of the counting commission were repressed: out of 63 people, 60 were shot.
S.M.Kirov was the first who initiated the "personality cult" of I.V. Stalin. At the XVII Congress of the CPSU (b), the “congress of winners,” in January 1934, in his speech, Kirov was the first to say a toast in honor of the “great leader and teacher of the Soviet people, comrade Stalin." The fact is that shortly before December 1, Stalin proposed to elect Kirov as secretary of the Central Committee. Moreover, Stalin motivated this by the state of his health. There is indirect evidence that the leader, just in case, was preparing a successor for himself. Sergey Kirov was a suitable candidate: the head of a large industrial region, an old Bolshevik, a popular political figure among the masses, a Russian by nationality. Note that Stalin and Kirov were close friends. Considering the murder of Kirov as the first step to the overthrow of Stalin, possibly everything falls into place.
Rejecting the version of Stalin’s responsibility for the murder of Kirov, A. Ulam wrote: “Suppose if Stalin wanted to get rid of Kirov, did he choose such a method for this? He had reason not to trust Yagoda. In 1928, in his conversation with Kamenev, Bukharin informed Yagoda that he supported his position and Rykov. From other sources we know that the head of the NKVD maintained friendly relations with Bukharin. In September 1936, Stalin dismissed Yagoda ... Could he have entrusted him with the execution of such an ominous mission in 1934? ”A. Ulam rightly pointed out that Stalin had many other ways to get rid of a politician he did not like.
The murder committed by Leonid Nikolayev had a personal motive: Kirov was in a love affair with his ex-wife Nikolayev. It is no secret that Sergei Mironovich was not indifferent to the fair sex. Analyzing the facts he had about the murder of Kirov, A. Ulam concluded: "The murder of Kirov was an act conceived and carried out by a single person ... Nikolayev." However, R. Medvedev also admits: “As for Nikolayev, all sources agree that this mentally unstable person acted initially on his own initiative."
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