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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Sergei Kirov b. March 27, 1886

Kirov speaking at the tribune of XVII congress of the CPSU, painting Pyotr Belousov (1912-1989)

The great revolutionary and Bolshevik leader Sergei Kirov was born March 27, 1886. Kirov, one of seven children, grew up in an orphanage after being abandoned by his alcoholic father and the early death of his mother from tuberculosis.

Kirov joined with the Bolsheviks early on in the wake of the failure of the 1905 Revolution and a term of imprisonment. He was a commander in the Red Army during the Civil War. A committed and talented organizer and Communist, after the Revolution he served as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijani Communist Party, First Secretary of the Leningrad Regional Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), First Secretary of the Leningrad City Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and was, at the time of his murder, an elected full member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Kirov was a powerful, charismatic speaker and a very popular figure both within the party and generally.

On December 1, 1934 he was assassinated in his office in Leningrad.

From the Soviet book At the Kremlin Wall:

He gave all his life to the Communist Party and the people.

Years of strenuous, faithful and selfless work in a number of Party organisations. He stimulated people to solving most complicated problems of economic development of Leningrad. The Niva and Svir hydro-electric power stations, the complex of structures for mining apatites on Kola Peninsula, the White Sea-Baltic Canal and many other projects are remarkable monuments to Kirov's organisational talent. Many things in Leningrad, primarily the personnel—workers, engineers and active Party members—bore an imprint of the influence of this wonderful man. "Our Mironych" the people called him affectionately and went to him for advice on matters of the most vital importance. Kirov's prestige in the Party increased with each passing year. After the Seventeenth Party Congress he was elected Secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), but soon after-wards he perished in the prime of his life.

Biography from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979):

Kirov, Sergei Mironovich

(party pseudonym of S. M. Kostrikov). Born Mar. 15 (27), 1886, in Urzhum, in present-day Kirov Oblast; died Dec. 1, 1934, in Leningrad. A prominent figure of the Communist Party and the Soviet state. Became a member of the Communist Party in 1904.

Kirov’s father belonged to the lower middle class (meshchanstvo). After his parents died, Kirov at the age of seven was placed in an orphanage. He studied at the Urzhum City School from 1897 to 1901 and the Kazan Mechanical and Technical School, from which he graduated in 1904; that same autumn he moved to Tomsk and worked as a draftsman with the city executive board. There Kirov became an active member of the Bolshevik group of the Tomsk Social Democratic organization. He was elected to the Tomsk RSDLP committee in July 1905 and organized an underground printing press and conducted party work among railroad workers in the summer of 1906. In October 1905, Kirov prepared and successfully led a strike at the important Taiga railroad station. He was repeatedly arrested in 1905 and 1906; in February 1907, having spent seven months in prison, he was sentenced to one year and four months of detention in a fortress.

After his release in June 1908, Kirov moved to Irkutsk, where he reestablished the party organization that had been smashed by the police. Evading police persecution, Kirov moved in May 1909 to Vladikavkaz (now Ordzhonikidze), assumed the leadership of the Bolshevik organization, and worked on the newspaper Terek. In November 1912 the newspaper published the article “Simplicity of Mores” over the signature S. Kirov, a surname that became his party pseudonym. In the period of the new revolutionary upswing in 1910–14 and during World War I, Kirov directed all Bolshevik political work in the Northern Caucasus; he was elected to the Vladikavkaz soviet after the February Revolution of 1917. In October 1917, Kirov was a delegate to the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets and participated in the October armed uprising in Petrograd. Upon returning to Vladikavkaz, Kirov led the struggle of the working people of the Terek for Soviet rule. He attended the second oblast congress of the peoples of the Terek, held in Piatigorsk in February-March 1918, which proclaimed Soviet rule in the Northern Caucasus, and attended the Sixth All-Russian Congress of Soviets in November 1918 as a delegate of Terek Oblast.

In late December 1918, Kirov led an expedition transporting arms and ammunition through Astrakhan to the Northern Caucasus; he stopped in Astrakhan because the Whites had captured the Northern Caucasus by that time. He was then appointed chairman of the Provisional Military Revolutionary Committee of Astrakhan Krai in February 1919, becoming a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Eleventh Army on May 7, 1919, and a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Southern Troop Group of the Red Army on July 7. Kirov was one of the organizers and leaders of the defense of Astrakhan. From January 1919, Kirov and G. K. Ordzhonikidze directed the offensive of the Eleventh Army in the Northern Caucasus; after capturing Vladikavkaz on March 30 and Baku on May 1, the army helped the workers in Baku overthrow the Musavatists and restore Soviet power.

On May 29, 1920, Kirov was appointed plenipotentiary of the RSFSR in Georgia, where the Mensheviks had seized power, and on October 1–12, 1920, he headed the Soviet delegation in Riga concluding the peace treaty with Poland. Kirov became a member of the Caucasian Bureau of the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik) after his return to the Northern Caucasus (October 1920). He was elected a candidate member of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) at the Tenth Congress of the RCP(B) in March 1921 and directed the work of the constituent congress of the Gorskaia ASSR (Vladikavkaz) on Apr. 16–22, 1921. Elected secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan in early July 1921, Kirov was instrumental in the rehabilitation of the petroleum industry and was one of the founders of the Transcaucasion Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (December 1922). The Twelfth Congress of the RCP(B), held in April 1923, elected him to the Central Committee of the RCP(B).

At a crucial point in the struggle against the Trotskyite-Zinovievite opposition, the party sent Kirov to Leningrad, and in February 1926 he was elected first secretary of the Leningrad Province Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik) and of the North-western Bureau of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) and a candidate member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the ACP(B). Under his leadership the Leningrad organization made great strides in all fields of socialist construction. Kirov waged an uncompromising and principled struggle for party unity against all antiparty groupings, such as the Trotskyites, Zinovievites, and Bukharinites. He was elected to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) in 1930, to the Organization Bureau in 1934, also becoming its secretary, and to the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR. A passionate tribune totally committed to the cause of the party, Kirov enjoyed tremendous prestige among and had the love of the Soviet people. On Dec. 1, 1934, Kirov was killed by an enemy of the Communist Party in Smol’nyi (Leningrad).

Kirov had been awarded the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner. He is buried in Moscow on Red Square at the Kremlin wall.

Sergei Kirov on the podium of the 17th All-Union Communist Party Congress in 1934



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