The Kirov Murder Mystery!

Stalin Attending Kirov’s Funeral

So year 12, you know the task- read through the handout given to you in the lesson, and decide for yourself- was the murder:

 

 

 

 

 

Sergei Kirov

  • Carried out by Nikolayev alone?
  • Carried out by Nikolayev with the help of the KNVD but without Stalin’s knowledge?
  • Ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev?

Use the sources and your own knowledge to explain your answer!

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29 responses to “The Kirov Murder Mystery!

  1. The murder of Kirov shows clear cut signs of a conspiracy ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    Stalin had the motive. Kirov, the best in the party, besides Trotsky, and popular with other members posed a great threat to Stalin. With Kirov gaining more votes at the Seventeenth Party Congress Stalin had to look at the possibility of being overruled. This only inflamed Stalin’s paranoia which can be shown by 70% of the members executed or exiled within 3 months of attendance.

    The NKVD had the means. On the afternoon of the murder the guards within the building had mysteriously disappeared, raising instant suspision, and providing Nikolayev with the delusion of succeeding in the assassination.

    And he did; Nikolayev, an unstable member of the party with rage against the institutions and Kirov’s possible involvement with his wife, provided the NKVD and Stalin with the best possible person to blame.
    The circumstances of Kirov’s murder collaborate with the idea of a planned assassination as it may have been too lucky that Kirov had left behind his bodyguard and Nikolayev had fainted next to the body for long enough for the NKVD to be notified, to arrive and to arrest the unconsious assassin.

    However, not impossible. Kirov had played a key role in previous Bolshevik uprisings and revolutions and may have proved more useful to Stalin alive than dead suggesting Nikolyaev had acted alone for the major grievances against him from the party; he had been expelled from the party a few months previous.

    Although, the events after the murder more or less ‘seal the deal’ that Kirov’s murder was planned.
    The key witness, Kirov’s bodyguard, was involved in a car collision with NKVD passengers in which he was the only one killed and no one else was hurt. Also, during questioning Nikolyaev had pointed to NKVD members as the one who had killed Kirov.
    But this can be criticised as anyone, especially when Stalin and the NKVD were ruling Russia, would not want to be accused of murder of a high ranking Party member.

    Towards the end of the 1930’s anyone who might have been included in Kirov’s murder had been executed or killed. Except Stalin. And there was no evidence to show Stalin had ever been involved. Although, this was to be expected with the NKVD in tight control of everything.

  2. I defiantly agree with Melissa. It would be easy to point the finger in Stalin’s direction for involvement in the conspiracy because of Kirov gaining more of the votes than Stalin at the Seventeenth Party Congress. We also know that they had been involved in disputes over matters such as the Ryutin affair and over the pace of industrialization. As we know from the years of The Great terror, Stalin’s personality led him to be extremely paranoid and he did not refrain from exterminating anybody he saw as possible opponents.
    It was also said that a man from the NKVD had posed earlier as a friend of Nikolayev and practiced shooting his revolver with him. Another coincidence is that a key witness, Kirov’s bodyguard, was in an accident right before he was going in to be questioned. He was the only one in the accident who was killed, and no one else was even injured.

    Since Kirov had a lot of support from the Seventeenth Party Congress, as a result, there would be a downgraded role and status of the NKVD. The head of the NKVD, Medved, was in charge of the Zaporozhets. They are alleged to have brought in personnel without Medved knowing – may have been because of orders of a higher authority. Medved then wanted to remove them. The Zaporozhets had previously worked with Yagoda, the overall head of the NKVD.

    Another thing is that when Nikolayev was being questioned, he pointed out the NKVD, and told Stalin to question them
    There is a lot more evidence swaying towards the conclusion that Nikolayev was not in the assassination alone, and the most obvious culprits were the NKVD, with more than the one motive to be involved. I think that the NKVD had the best motive for murder. They needed to keep the power of the NKVD, and there is so much coincidental evidence pointing towards them being involved. This includes all of the personal relations that people in the NKVD had to the people and things involved in the murder. Even the situation with the NKVD men after the murder was suspicious – and it also shows how much power that the NKVD possessed.

  3. I agree with Melissa and Sophie. Stalin ordered the murder as he had the motive as Kirov was shown to have many suporters at the Seventeenth Party Congress and he had a strong paranoia that people being against him.

    Stalin decreed a few days before the murder of Kirov that those involved in crimes against the state could be summarily tried and punished, I believed he did this intentionally so that he could use this to destroy his political oposition after the murder.

    Another key point is that Stalin himself conducted the investigation, this was incredibly unusual for the leader of a nation to do unless he had something to hide. Within his investigations he took most of his lead advisors including Yagoda but left out close friends of Kirov.

    It is possible that the NKVD was directly involved in arranging the murder and had recruited Nikolaev when they found he had a vendetta against Kirov. The evidence also says that a man from the NKVD posed as a friend of Nikolayev and practived shooting his revolver with him, this supports the point that the NKVD arranged Kirov’s murder. Also, as Sophie points out Nikolayev pointed Stalin towards the NKVD which shows that the murder was not carried out by him alone. I believe Stalin ordered the NKVD to arrange the murder as he could then use it to backfire and purge the NKVD which he believe contained too much power.

  4. Stalin and Kirov disagreed over things like industrialisation. As well as this Kirov secured more votes than Stalin in the Seventeenth party congress. This shows that Kirov was a huge opponent to Stalin and Stalin never failed to get rid of any political opponents.

    However, the assassin had found out that Kirov was having an affair with his Wife suggesting he alone had a huge motive to murder Kirov. As well as this his briefcase showed he had planned the murder and that it was more of a personal act of desperation and protest. It is unlikely that Nikolayev would have been able to do this alone as there is also lots of evidence showing the NKVD’s involvement.

    On the afternoon of the murder the guards within the building were not there which would support evidence that the NKVD had an involvement in the murder as it gave Nikolayev a higher chance of succeeding in the assassination. Kirov wanted to downgrade the NKVD and when Kikolayev was asked why he murdered Kirov he told Stalin to ask the NKVD that question. On top of this the only witness who was Kirov’s bodyguard was killed in an ‘accident’ in a truck filled with NKVD men. This evidence could suggest that they did not want the bodyguard to be questioned as what he could have to say could link to the NKVD.

    Stalin ordered the first arrests and began the great purges. This could suggest that Stalin was not happy about what had happened as Kirov could have been a great ally to Stalin as Kirov played a key role in past uprisings.

    I think most of the evidence shows that the NKVD was involved in the Kirov murder. They chose the perfect person to take part in the assassination which was Nikolayev. This is because Kirov had an affair with his Wife and seems to be a weaker member of the party. They had the means to take part in the assassination as they wanted to keep their power which Kirov planned to downgrade. I think the biggest evidence that shows the NKVD were involved is because the only witness was accidently killed in a truck full of NKVD men with none of the NKVD men being injured.

  5. I think that the murder was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    Stalin would have had a motive behind ordering the murder. A long list of reasons why he would want Kirov out of the way even if it meant letting someone else take the blame. Kirov had a huge amount of support from the Seventeeth party congress and more people voted for him than Stalin, this annoyed Stalin a lot, he envied Kirov and this was mighty opposition for Stalin to compete with and after all he wanted ultimate power and control. With Kirov out of the way he could push through with his take over. It could be a possibilty that Stalin ordered the murder because he didn’t want to take the blame himself, it would have given him a loss of support and less votes if it was revealed that he was the assassin.

    There are clues which suggest that the NKVD helped Nikolayev, it was alleged that a member of the NKVD helped him practise shooting, this would definitely point the finger at the NKVD for arraging the murder, teaching Nikolayev how to carry out the job properly. Another point which suggests this is that Nikolayev was interogated by Stalin and he named the NKVD as the people to go to for the answers. The NKVD had the power to succeed, on the afternoon of the murder all of the guards had suspiciously disappeared allowing Nikolayev to carry out the murder with no worries, the NKVD could organise everything perfectly with no suspicion.

    Nikolayev would have also has reasons to kill Kirov. Firstly his wife, Milde Draule, was a secretary at the party headquaters and it was a possibility that she was having an affair with Kirov therefore he could have done it for revenge or spite. Secondly if Stalin was ordering the murder then Nikolayev would have not wanted to upset or dis-obey Stalin incase he was murdered too, Nikolayev would have been under a lot of pressure.

    It seems obvious that Kirov’s murder was planned and carried out with caution especially as the key witness, Borisov Kirov’s bodyguard, was killed on the way to questioning. He was in a car accident with several NKVD men and conveniently no one else was hurt, therefore no evidence was noted from him. Would it be unreasonable to assume that his death was a planned murder to?

    • I think lucy has the right idea, to stalin nickolayev was just the perfect person to get rid of kirov, with his personal motives such as his wifes affair and the amount of pressure from stalin and the nkvd, stalin used him to eliminate his biggest threat. After kirov won more votes at the congress he needed to prove his power. He must have used the nkvd to arm nickolayev and be sure that all went to plan. We can assume this as after nickolayev’s arrest the only witness, his bodyguard, dies in an “accident” on the way to questioning. This proves stalin was also trying to keep his ego intact by using his influence over the nkvd to get a personal victory over kirov, who at the time did not possess the same amount of power and control as stalin, so to stalin this was just to prove that he was still in power.

  6. I too think that the murder was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    Stalin inevitably had the potential of being a key influence behind the murder, stemming from the fact Kirov had a huge amount of support from the Seventeenth party congress and Stalin was outvoted by him. Which would have caused great resentment between the two as Stalin was only ever after power and success without the need of competition. So by ordering the murder he would eradicate the threat of Kirov while not revealing himself as the ‘assassin’.

    The NKVD too played a vital role, not only is it alleged that a member of the NKVD helped Kirov practice shooting a revolver but the time of the murder all of the guards suspiciously disappeared which allowed Nikolayev to carry out the murder with no worries. The NKVD careful planning and organisation enabled everything to run to plan with no arising suspicions.

    Nikolayev alone would have had passive reasons to kill Kirov. Not only was it thought there was a possibility of his wife, Milde Draule, having an affair with Kirov. However if Stalin had ordered the murder, Nikolayev would have had to carry it out, on the basis of fear as he wouldn’t have wanted to be seen as disobeying Stalin. Hence his fury of the alleged affair and fear would have greatly fuelled his motive to carry out the murder of Kirov.

    The likelihood of Kirov’s murder appears to be very high, especially as the key witness, Borisov Kirov’s bodyguard, was killed on the way to questioning. While no one else in the vehicle was injured indicates careful planning was instigated to ensure the case wasn’t revealed.

  7. I also think that the murdered was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    Stalin had obvious motives, most notably being that Kirov had a great deal of support at the Seventeenth Party Congress, support which Stalin would have wanted. Stalin wanted full, unchallenged control – we can see that by how willing he was to undercut other communists when the power struggle began – by manipulating the system. Therefore Kirov winning in the vote would have only fueled his paranoia, and encouraged him to do something about Kirov. Therefore he ordered the murder, but kept himself separate & used the NKVD so the blame would never fall upon him.

    Clearly the NKVD had the means to the assassinate Kirov, as they could easily infiltrate the headquarters, especially if they had Stalin’s backing, & as the NKVD had careful planning, before & after, such as the ‘accident’ in which the only witness perished, they could easily carry out the murder & ensure they were not pinned for the murder.

    Nikolayev had personal incentives as well, such as the apparent affair with his wife, which shows why he was the perfect choice to be assassin, & the powers that be could easily incite him into carrying out the murder.

    Therefore it is obvious Kirov’s murder was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

  8. This view is also shown in source 13.6, from ‘Stalin: A Time for Judgement’. Here it says “when Stalin found out [that some delegates had approached Kirov to ask him to become General Secretary in Stalin’s place] he decided to remove him…” This shows that Stalin had a motive

    It is clear that Stalin’s paranoia was the main cause of Kirov’s murder. Kirov had outvoted Stalin in the Seventeenth party congress. He was then approached to become General Secretary of the party. This was the last straw for Stalin; he panicked and resorted to hiring Nikolayev to remove him so he could be the one with the power.

    The finger also points towards the NKVD. They were accused of befriending Nikolayev and teaching him how to shoot with his revolver. This suggests that they were trying to make sure he would do the job properly, killing Kirov, therefore they were heavily involved. When Stalin asked Nikolayev why he had killed Kirov, he pointed to the NKVD men saying that Stalin should ask them. In addition, Kirov’s body guard, Borisov, was killed in a truck amongst several NKVD men in an ‘accident’ on the way to questioning.

    Nikolayev obviously also had his own motives. There was a possibility that his wife, who was a secretary at the HQs, was having an affair with Kirov. Therefore he wanted revenge. In addition, he was disgruntled with the party. He had developed a hatred of the party bureaucracy which he had felt had no given him his due.

    In conclusion, it is obvious to me that all three of them played a part in Kirov’s murder. Stalin had initiated it through paranoia and jealously and therefore the NKVD got involved. I think that Stalin then played on Nikolayev’s fears that his wife was having an affair and pushed him to assassinate Kirov. I don’t think he would have done it if Stalin’s position wasn’t under threat.

  9. **I think that the assassination was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    (This was cut off from the top!)

  10. The murder of Kirov was not the sole working of Nikolayev. It was under the order of Stalin that he was assassinated.
    For Stalin, Kirov was the perfect target. He was in a position that potentially threatened Stalin’s power. Winning the vote of the Party Congress drew attention to Kirov, and although he did not want to try and take any power from winning the vote, he had enough popularity to be a threat to Stalin. As pointed out by Matt and Sophie, Kirov and Stalin did not get on. They often disagreed, and would never be able to work together meaning that Kirov was a clear opponent to Stalin. Kirov was just the first of many ‘opponents’ who died due to Stalin’s paranoia.
    Kirov’s murder was also convenient for Stalin in that he used it to convict other political enemies later on, during the great terror. due to Stalin conducting the investigation into the murder, there was no evidence to suggest anything other that what Stalin claimed.
    Furthermore, the fact that Kirov’s body guard was involved in a fatal car accident on the way to the trial further proves that it was Stalin who ordered Kirov’s murder. The chances of not only the accident but also for him to be the only one hurt are minute. Although this could all just be a series of remarkable coincidences, it is very unlikely. Kirov’s body guard was the one man who would have heard or seen the most, and he would have been able to reveal the truth. The NKVD men who would have known the truth about the car ‘accident’ were later executed, so the only person who knew was Stalin himself.
    Moreover, Stalin’s decree just prior to Kirov’s assassination stated that those involved in crimes against the state could be tried and punished. This too could be an extraordinary coincidence, but again, the chances are very slim.
    However, Nikolayev did have reason to want Kirov dead. His wife was allegedly having an affair with Kirov. This may have forced him to the point where he was willing to murder Kirov. The diary that shows Nikolayev planning to murder Kirov could have easily been written by the NKVD, or even written by Nikolayev if forced.
    In conclusion, Kirov’s murder was ordered by Stalin. Although Nikolayev had reason to want him out of the picture, Stalin had far greater reasons.

  11. I think Kirov’s murder was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    Stalin would have wanted Kirov out of the way as he saw him as a threat due to the fact that he gained more support than Stalin at the Seventeenth party congress. Stalin saw Kirov as opposition, and as we know Stalin will do anything to get rid of opposition that might threaten his position.

    I believe that as Stalin has control over pretty much everything that happens in Russia due to his ruthlessness, that he then commanded the NKVD to get rid of Kirov and hide any government involvement.

    To do this, i believe that the NKVD may have informed Nikolayev that his wife was having an affair, (this is also only just an assumption so the NKVD may have made this up also) which then gave him a very good motive for the killing. Then the NKVD made sure that the building and Kirov were not very secure to make the assassination even easier. This also might explain why Nikolevev was shown how to use a firearm.

    Weather this theory is the truth or not we will not know, but it could be possible. However i do not believe that you can deny that Stalin and the NKVD were not involved. As mentioned previously Stalin has complete control over the NKVD, and has even used them to make false confessions in the Moscow show trails, which proves that he does use the NKVD to protect his position. Because of this I do not believe that Stalin would have been unaware of the NKVD’s involvement, for which there is substantial evidence, and so I believe that it was Stalin who ultimately ordered Kirov’s murder and Nikolavev was used to cover up any government involvement.

    The fact that Stalin wanted government involvement hidden would also explain the ‘accident’ that occurred when taking Kirov’s bodyguard to court as he would not wanted the truth to be exposed.

    The NKVD had no real choice to but carry out Stalin’s orders because as we know, anyone who is seen as an opponent to Stalin is usually assassinated.

  12. I believe that the order to kill Kirov came from Stalin, was arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    Stalin had several motives for wanting to get rid of Kirov. Firstly, Kirov had recieved more votes than him at the Seventeenth Party Congress, which was not what Stalin had wanted as it showed him that the Party wanted a new leader. So, to re-assert his power, Stalin would have wanted to see Kirov disappear. Secondly, Stalin and Kirov had disputes over key issues that Stalin wanted implemented, such as collectivisation and the trial of Bukharin. This would have caused Stalin to view Kirov as a threat because Stalin did not like people disagreeing with him on his ideas. Because Kirov was so popular in the Party, Stalin couldn’t have outed that he wanted him killed as it could have caused an uprising, but nonetheless, Stalin had to get rid of Kirov to make sure he stayed the Party leader. So by getting the NKVD to arrange it and Nikolayev to carry it out, Stalin managed to stay out of spot light when it came to deciding who ordered the murder.

    It is clear to see that the NKVD arranged for Kirov to be murdered because the deputy of the NKVD, Zaporozhets, placed personnel in key posts in Moscow without the permission of the Leningrad’s head of the NKVD, Medved. This shows that only the NKVD close to Stalin were to arrange the murder because Zaporozhets did not tell Medved that extra personnel would be brought in to make sure Kirov was killed. This could be because Medved was close to Kirov as they both worked in Leningrad and so could not be trusted with the information as it could have then spread to Kirov. The guards that would have normally lined the corridor where Kirov was murdered were gone, which suggests that they were ordered to move and since NKVD dealt with security, the order would have come from them. Another reason showing the NKVD’s involvement is the fact that Nikolayev was released by Zaporozhets when he got arrested for being too close to Kirov. This shows that the NKVD wanted to use Nikolayev, otherwise they would have just left him in prison. A final reason showing that the NKVD arranged for the murder was when Kirov’s bodyguard was the only one to have died in an accident, which shows that the NKVD did not want the bodyguard talking about what he might have saw. This shows that the NKVD were covering their tracks to make it look like it was just carried out by Nikolayev and to make sure that the murder did not get linked to Stalin.

    Nikolayev had his own reasons for hating Kirov because he had suspicions that his wife, Milde Draule, was having an affair with Kirov. But he could not have killed Kirov without some sort of help because of his personality. He was a nervous man and was of poor health, so handling a revovler without training would have been extremely diffcult to do, which is where the NKVD came in because it was alleged that an NKVD man practised with Nikolayev on shooting his revovler.

  13. I believe that Starlin ordered Nikolayev to assassinate Kirov because of Starlin’s own paranoia because Kirov had recieved more votes than Starlin which would have made Starlin feel very insecure.

    Although Nikolayev may have had his own personal reasons behind the assassination and he claimed that he did assassinate Kirov for personal reasons such as the fact that he thought his wife was having an affair with Kirov. This would have made Nikolayev ideal to do Starlin’s dirty work for him. Starlin wanted Kirov out of the way because he was a threat to Starlin’s position and Nikolayev wanted Kirov away because of his wife.

    Nikolayev was Starlin’s puppet because Starlin wanted full support for the party congress which when Kirov was around he did not have, but with Kirov out of the way there would be no other alternative leaving Starlin with full power.

    I believe the NKVD did have something to do with it too but their reasons behind it weren’t that important, Starlin I believe was the main person behind it and Nikolayev just did the work for him.

  14. I definitely agree with what a number of people have stated already. Stalin had knowledge of Kirov’s murder.

    Kirov was extremely popular and known to be the best in the party after Trotsky. As a result, Stalin’s paranoia must have grown resulting in him wanting to get rid of Kirov.

    The NKVD had quite a lot of motives to kill Kirov though. Kirov had a lot of involvement with the Seventeenth Party Congress. He wanted the relaxation of the terror and reconciliation with the peasantry which would have downgraded the NKVD and lowered it’s status.

    It is also alleged that before his murder, Kirov asked for Zaporozhets to be removed however this was turned down.

    This tells us that the NKVD did have some motives for murdering him.

    If Stalin did order Kirov’s murder, then the NKVD would of had no choice however as they would also be murdered if they refused. Stalin had complete control of them therefore you can not rule out that he had involvement in the murder.

  15. My view is that Kirov’s murder was ordered by Stalin,arranged by the NKVD ( who had no choice but to obey Stlains commands, even though they themselves had a motive for Kirovs death too) and finally carried out by Nikolayev.

    Stalin has the obvious motive in that Kirov had a huge support at the Seventeenth Party Congress even more than Stalin himself did. This made Kirov a very cautious threat and important target to Stalin, with his paranoia undoubtedly heightening this feeling of insecurity.

    Stalin then probably pointed out to the NVKD that this extra power concerning Kirov would result in the ‘downgraded’ role of the NVKD, knowing that this would give them extra motive. This helped Stalin when he ‘ordered’ the NVKD to organise a murder. Due to high government involvement being unacceptable, they had to involve another man to assinate Kirov. ‘A nervous man whose health was poor’ is likely to have been a good choice for them, as his personality meant it was probably very easy to persuade him that his wife was having an affair with Kirov. Planting this motive into Nikolayevs mind would have ensureed that he too would want Kirov too, but for personal reasons too, slightly different to Stalins, perhaps creating more passion and fury to end Kirovs life.

    If all went to plan, then Stalin would hopefully get away successfully with simply ordering Kirovs murder, but in a sneakily (perhaps smart)way in making everyone have different motives to kill this man.

  16. I agree with the majority of people in that the murder of Kirov was ordered by Stalin then arranged by the NKVD and then carried out by Nikolayev.
    Looking through the evidence it becomes very clear that during this time Stalin’s paranoia was growing, and therefore a motive in Kirov’s death. As Kirov had stood against Stalin on various issues like the Ryutin affair and over the pace of industrialization, coupled with the fact Stalin would murder and dispose of any political opposition. Kirov also wanted to calm down the terror which, with future reference to Moscow show trails was not what Stalin had in mind at all. By the summer of 1934 Kirov and Stalin had fallen out.
    Should Kirov be murdered this would give Stalin the license to then hunt down a supposed secret terror group that Stalin thought was rallying against him.
    Another motive could of been Kirov’s popularity which was cause for concern for Stalin, as Kirov had a lot of support from the Seventeenth Party Congress.
    With the knowledge of Kirvo’s views that he wanted to calm down the terror and reconcile with the peasantry, this would mean a downgrading of the NKVD, which would not have been very popular among those who believed in the NKVD or in fact with those in the NKVD itself. This motive would have provoked the NKVD to intervene, the evidence serially suggested so, because on the day of the murder the guards within the building were not there. This could not have been orchestrated by Nikolayev alone. Whose own personal movtives connot be ignored, the alleged affair with his wife would have driven him to the murder.
    All the evidence suggests that Stalin started to see Kirov as a threat and needed to get rid of him, getting the NKVD on side would have been easy, as they would have seen Kirov in the same way. Evidence of their involvement is strong, as the only witness to the murder, Kirov’s bodyguard was killed, in a van full of NKVD men.
    Nikolayev was the perfect person to commit the murder his motives would have been clear and it would have been hard to implicate Stalin in it.

  17. The Murder was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    This was because Stalin was very paranoid at this time, also he had good reason with Kirov being more popular then Stalin himself. Stalin therefore would wish to resolve this issue in the only way he really knew, so he ordered Kirov’s death through the NKVD who helped Nikolayev assassinate Kirov.

    The NKVD probably provoked Stalin to carry this out and agreed to keep it anonymous so this would seem logical to Stalin as it gave him relief and security of his position. The NKVD would want to target Kirov as it would prove a big kill for the NKVD and show Stalin of their importance and it was also an opportunity to assassinate someone so they met their targets.

    The NKVD were definitely involved in the assassination though as the NKVD helped Nickoleyev practice his shooting and didn’t take his gun off off him or arrest him when he was questioned.

    Lastly Nickolayev wanted to murder Kirov as he was very suspicious of his wife cheating on him with Kirov. Which made him quickly an easy target for Stalin and the NKVD to use to assassinate Kirov. Nickolayev was also a very nervous person and had very bad health as well which shows the NKVD’s possible help with the assassination, Nickolayev would probably be in experienced with assassinations and thus needed help and a plan.

  18. Looking at all of the evidence i agree with most people here that the murder of Kirov was ordered by Stalin.

    this is because we know that anyone who was seen as a possible threat to Stalin was immediately taken care of, for example Bukharin and Trotsky. and when Kirov gained more votes at the seventeenth party congress, this obviously alarmed Stalin and therefore had his motive to eliminate Kirov. Kirov was also the best in the party after Trotsky, which made him a threat to Stalin because of his intelligence.

    the NKVD were almost certainly involved as it was alleged that an NKVD man himself had actually posed as a friend of Nikolayev(the man who committed the assassination) had practised shooting a revolver with him, most likely to gain Nikolayev some experience with guns and assassinations. and with the NKVD being involved, that almost certainly means that it was under Stalin’s orders that Kirov was assassinated.

  19. The murder of Kirov was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev. The circumstances of the murder and the fact that it occurred after Seventeenth Party Congress, were Stalin had expected to go and get praised to only find out he was not the most popular man in the party, is all extremely convenient.
    The murder itself raises many questions, why weren’t his usual body guard’s there? I know his personal bodyguard was talking to his boss, but surely a man who was seen as so great would have had a lot of protection? The fact that the bodyguards were not there presented perfect circumstances for the murder, no one could say that they had seen the murder or who did it, leaving it open to discussion. Also the fact that Nikolayev fainted right by the body after the death long enough for the NKVD to find out makes the whole assassination and trial after seem perfect, it ran so smoothly and there was no need to a chase to find the murderer. The fact that Nikolayev had a pass that allowed him into the building and the fact that the body guards were there would suggest he had been planning this for a while, who would plan a murder and then faint? Furthermore the story of the murder is very detailed considering it was just Kirov and Nikolayev who were the only ones involved , how was all this information found out, there were no body guards around and the only witness died in an “accident”, no other detail apart from it being an accident put’s that death into speculation as well. It was already shown that Stalin was an extremely paranoid person, not just of his opposition but those on his side, the fact that Kirov had been voted by Stalin’s people as favourite would have sent alarm bells ringing in Stalin’s head. The second someone looked like they were getting popular or dangerous Stalin made sure they did not last much longer; he did not want anyone to threaten his sole power of the USSR.
    The NKVD had no problems with disposing of people that Stalin did not want around, that’s what they were there to do, Stalin’s dirty work. They could carry out the murder and frame someone quite easily; all they needed was a person, someone to put the murder on. Leonid Nikolayev was the perfect man, an unstable character that had already been arrested by the police a couple of times and mysteriously released, despite the fact that he had a legally registered gun on him, a coincident that Kirov was also murdered with a gun. He had a motive as well, his wife was said to be having an affair with Kirov and he was unhappy about some people’s attitude in the party. It is suspicious however that In March 1934 (9 months before Kirov’s murder), Nikolayev was thrown out the party for a breach of discipline, then in the summer of 1934 after Stalin and the new most popular member of the communist party Kirov had some disagreements, Nikolayev is then reinstated in the party and within a couple of months assassinates Kirov. The fact that he came back in at such a perfect time show’s that Stalin may have been growing increasingly paranoid to the point where he decided enough was enough, Kirov had to go. With Nikolayev past, it was easy to blame him.
    Kirov’s murder was just part of Stalin’s mass murders to ensure his sole power over Russia remained undisputed in his mind.

  20. I think that The murder of Kirov was completely down to Stalin because he was continously paranoid of losing his power and constantly thought people were out to get him. Stalin found out that Kirov was more popular than him at the Seventeenth Party Congress. So I believe that Stalin wanted Kirov gone, but the only way Stalin knew of getting rid of people he felt threatend by was to kill them.

    So I believe Kirovs death was ordered by Stalin, and was arranged by the NKVD.

    Nickolayev claimed to have his own personal reasons behind the assassination of Kirov because his wife alledgedly was having an affair with Kirov.

  21. i think that the murder was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried Nikolayev.

    Stalin was defintiely involved in the murder because he would have seen Kirvo as a threat to his authority, so owuld have had him killed.

    Stalin would have denied being related to the murder, as kirov was important in the communist party, so lied to cover any links.

    The NKVD would have been involved, because htis was howstalin dealt with opponenets, but what not have yoused any of there members becasue it would have aroused suspision.

    Nikolayev may have hated kriov enough to kill him, but would not have had the opportunity without help from the NKVD.

    Involvemtn from Stalin or the NKVD is also likely as none of his usual guards were in position.

    in conclusion, Stalin would have decided to get rid of Kirov as an opposition.

  22. When discussing the Kirov murder, I believe it was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev. Kirov was known to be a rising star in the communist party, and over a period of time, he was receiving more popularity and this was proved to Stalin in the Seventeenth party congress where he received more votes than him. As we all know, Stalin was extremely paranoid and figures show he was not happy about the results of the vote, as within three months of the congress, 70% of those who attended were dead. I believe Stalin ordered this as he was scared and anxious that Kirov may one day overrule him, and he had already got rid of everyone else who overruled him, so why not Kirov too?
    In my view, Stalin gave orders to the NKVD for Kirov’s death, firstly because he then wouldn’t have to get his own hands dirty, but secondly Nikolayev had his own reasons for wanting to carry it out. Nikolayev was a failed party functionary who had recently lost his job and it was rumored Kirov had an affair with Nikolayev’s wife. As he was a weaker ex-member of the party, people would have easily forgotten about him, and it wouldn’t be difficult to get rid of him to cover up evidence as no-one would really think of him. Borisov, Kirov’s bodyguard was also killed the supposedly the day after the murder in a truck with NKVD agents. It seems everything in the mystery is linked. As Nikolayev was fail, how did he reach the secure location of the Leningrad party corridor where the murder was carried out? As we can never be 100% sure, I’m going to conclude on the opinion that the NKVD was massively involved as ordered by Stalin for Kirov’s murder.

  23. I think that the murder of Kirov was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    From looking at the evidence it is quite obvious that during this time Stalin’s paranoia was growing dramatically, and therefore a was a factor in Kirov’s death. Furthermore Kirov had stood against Stalin on various issues.

    Furthermore the NKVD could simply assassinate Kirov, as they could easily infiltrate the headquarters, also the fact that they could be downgraded gave them another movtive to help set up the murder.

    In addition a major contributing factor towards Kirov’s death was the fact that Kirov had recieved more votes than him at the Seventeenth Party Congress, which was not what Stalin had wanted as it showed him that the Party wanted a new leader.

    A reason for Nikolayev wanting to kill Kirov is the fact that his wife was possibly having an affair with Kirov therefore he could have done it for revenge to get back at him. Also Nikolayev’s fragile state of mind made him the perfect candidate.

  24. I think that the murder was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    Looking at the evidence it would seem obvious it was ordered by Stalin as Kirov gained more votes then him at the Sevententh Party Congress which showed Stalin that he was not the most popular with the majority of the voters. Stalin was also paranoid at this time and seeing that Kirov got more votes than him would have made him uneasy and would want to get him out the way so he could not cause more trouble

    Also, the NKVD would arrange it as it would mean that Stalin wouldnt get the blame for doing it and so he has someone else to blame it on and not himself

    Nikolayev was also a perfect candidate for the murder, as he thought he wife was having an affair with Kirov and done it for revenege, and the fact that he was also unstable so he could get away with it.

  25. Nikolayev alone cannot be blamed for Kirov’s murder. It was Stalin who felt the initial urgency to remove Kirov from the Party, after he received more votes than him at the Congress of Victors. The support that Kirov received led to Stalin’s paranoia and therefore the purging of the Communist party.

    Although Stalin had a very clear motive for the murder of Kirov, the NKVD definitely played a key role in making sure that it was carried out. The NKVD would have agreed with Stalin that Kirov had to go, as they wanted to protect themselves – Kirov had suggested that the power of the NKVD be downgraded. Also, on the day of Kirov’s murder no guards were present in the building, which is very suspicious, conveniently giving the assassin a good opportunity to kill him. Furthermore Kirov’s bodyguard, who was the number one witness, was killed in an “accident” before he could be questioned. This is suspicious as he was in a truck full of the NKVD, and somehow none of them were injured, yet he ended up dying. If he knew anything about the truth behind Kirov’s murder, the NKVD were under threat of being exposed as the murderers, and so needed to cover this up.

    Finally, the NKVD needed somebody that they could trust to actually carry out the murder, and this was Nikolayev. Nikolayev’s wife worked at the Party headquarters and was allegedly having an affair with Kirov. This would have given Nikolayev a motive for wanting to be the assassin, and also if he knew Kirov’s death was under Stalin’s orders, he would have wanted to do what he was told, in fear of being exiled or even executed.

    Overall, the NKVD arranged Kirov’s murder by creating a good opportunity for Nikolayev to actually carry it out, yet this was all under Stalin’s orders. All three played a key role in Kirov’s death, as Stalin and the NKVD could not have killed him themselves, yet both wanted him dead. However, if Stalin had not ordered Kirov’s death, the NKVD would not have arranged it. For example, if Stalin had liked Kirov but the NKVD wanted to get rid of him to save their power, they would not be able to without fear of Stalin finding out and getting rid of them, taking away any power that they had altogether.

  26. I think that Kirovs murder was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    I think this becuase at the Seventeenth Party Congress Kirov gained more support form the party and Stains power was falling away, Stalin was always paranoid and if he believed that Kirov could take over the party he would be more than willing to order someone to kill him. As well as this, Stalin was always said no to removing Zaporozhets, they had the perfect oppertunity to know what Kirov did on a daily basis.

    The NKVD could have easily arranged the murder of Kirov becuase if they had the order from Stalin they could use any means to get rid of him. After the murder, the only key witness Borisov was murdered and would have been the only person to link the NKVD and Stalin to the murder. The leading men in protecting Kirov were sent to labour camps but were given regualr gifts, perhaps for their help with the murder of Kirov.

    Nikolayev was the perfect person to murder Kirov beucase if hanyone looked at the murder they would judt believe that it was for his own personal reasons and Stalin and the NKVD would be in the clear. In source 13.4 it says that Nikolayev was convinced he could do any work, if this was true he would have been willing t odo anything the Party asked of him.

  27. Its clear that Kirovs murder was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikolayev.

    Stalin and Kirov had fallen out over a number of issues in the past. After the Seventeenth Part Congress, where many of the party members had voted for Kirov instead of Stalin, It was obvious that Stalin would have a vendetta against Kirov because Stalin did not like the fact that someone was becoming more popular and more powerful than him within the party. Although Stalin played well at hiding the fact that he wanted Kirov out. In source 13.3, it shows him attending Kirov’s funeral and carrying his coffin.

    On the other hand, Nikolayev might have had some things against Kirov himself. It is possible that Nikolayev’s wife might have been having an affair with Kirov, and it also showed in his diary that he had planned Kirov’s murder. So Nikolayev might have had his own intentions in the murder as well as being ordered by Stalin and the NKVD.

    Furthermore, When Stalin went to Leningrad and carried out an interrogation of Nikoleyev, when he was asked why he had murdered Kirov, he pointed to the NKVD men, saying that Stalin should ask “them” that question. This is clearly saying that Nikoleyev had been ordered by Stalin to murder Kirov and that the NKVD had association with the happenings too.

    In conclusion, Kirovs murder was ordered by Stalin, arranged by the NKVD and carried out by Nikoleyev. Stalin had a clear vendetta against Kirov after the seventeenth party congress and Nikoleyev wasn’t a big fan of him either. But it could be said that it was a turning point for Stalin, which not only unleashed a terror that killed millions but also determined the future of Soviet Russia, and what might have first caused Stalin’s paranoia.

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