The Kirov Murder and Soviet History

Matthew E. Lenoe

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Drawing on hundreds of newly available, top-secret KGB and party Central Committee documents, historian Matthew E. Lenoe reexamines the 1934 assassination of Leningrad party chief Sergei Kirov. Joseph Stalin used the killing as the pretext to unleash the Great Terror that decimated the Communist elite in 1937–1938; these previously unavailable documents raise new questions about whether Stalin himself ordered the murder, a subject of speculation since 1938.

The book includes translations of 125 documents from the various investigations of the Kirov murder, allowing readers to reach their own conclusions about Stalin’s involvement in the assassination.

Matthew Lenoe is associate professor of history at the University of Rochester.

"Matthew Lenoe’s superb Kirov Murder solves the crime of the century."—Simon Sebag Montefiore, Sunday Telegraph

“…the fullest account of the affair yet published. In a book that pairs acute analysis and extensive extracts from archival documents with pacy narrative he insists that there was no conspiracy….This is not only a book for fans of historical murder mysteries but also for readers seeking to understand this extraordinary era.”—David Priestland, History Today

"A grippingly constructed narrative."—Susanne Hillman, Australian Slavonic and East European Studies

“In all probability, there will never be a ‘definitive’ account of the Kirov murder, but this immaculate volume comes tantalisingly close…truly impressive.”—Kevin McDermott, Revolutionary Russia

"Lenoe's own investigation of the murder is the most authoritative, complete, and convincing to date. The author deserves thanks for assembling and translating the documents, and for producing a work which not only provides a masterful interpretation of the murder itself, but also sheds light on the workings of Soviet politics and vicissitudes of Soviet history more generally. While the book is aimed at the specialist, it manages at the same time to be a gripping read."—Sarah Davies, The Russian Review

Winner of the 2011 Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History sponsored by the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies
ISBN: 9780300112368
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
872 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
12 b/w illus.
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