The Kirov Murder and Soviet History Matthew E. Lenoe

Annals of Communism Series
Publication date:
25 May 2010
Yale University Press
872 pages: 235 x 156 x 54mm
12 b-w illus.
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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.

More about this title

The Kirov Murder and Soviet History has received the 2011 Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History for outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia in the field of history.

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 

"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