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BBC History: Stalin and the Betrayal of Leningrad



Stalin was always suspicious of Russia’s former capital. Its huge cultural, scientific and economic importance, its historical role as the cradle of the 1917 Revolution, its pre-eminent position in the history of the Russian intelligentsia – all produced a dangerous spirit of independence when viewed from the Kremlin.

From 1918 to 1926, moreover, it was the power base of Grigorii Zinoviev, one of Stalin’s main rivals to succeed Lenin.

After Zinoviev’s downfall Stalin installed Sergei Kirov as first secretary of the Leningrad party, and Trotsky’s and Zinoviev’s followers were ruthlessly purged. Though a loyal Stalinist, Kirov may well also, in turn, have come to be seen as a threat.

A popular figure and – unlike Stalin – a Russian, by the early 1930s he was certainly seen by some in the Party as preferable to Stalin as leader. His assassination in December 1934 has often been attributed to Stalin, though official investigations under Khrushchev, Gorbachev and Yeltsin failed to unearth conclusive evidence of this.

What is certain is that Stalin seized the opportunity presented by Kirov’s death to purge Leningrad of former oppositionists and members of the old ruling and professional classes – and also to appoint one of the rising generation of Stalinist cadres, Andrei Zhdanov, as ruler of the USSR’s second city. MORE AT LINK




  1. 23/07/2019 16:29

    They SAY one thing to get in power…THEN do as they always intended—secretly until it is too late to undo their hidden operatives and outright lies! 😦 Proved by history like this…!


  2. 23/07/2019 16:25

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


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