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.
"A grippingly constructed narrative."—Susanne Hillman, Australian Slavonic and East European Studies~Susanne Hillman, Australian Slavonic and East European Studies
"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~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~Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History, Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies