Sergey Mironovich Kirov
(born March 27, 1886, Urzhum, Vyatka province, Russia — died Dec. 1, 1934, Leningrad, Russia, U.S.S.R.) Soviet political leader. After joining the Bolsheviks, he extended the Communist Party's control in Transcaucasia, and in 1926 Joseph Stalin appointed him head of the Leningrad party organization (1926). He modernized the city's industries, was elected to the Politburo (1930), and acquired power that nearly rivaled Stalin's. In 1934 he was assassinated by a young party member, Leonid Nikolayev, who was later shot, along with 13 suspected accomplices. Stalin, claiming that a widespread conspiracy of anti-Stalinist communists planned to assassinate the entire Soviet leadership, used the assassination as a pretext to institute the Purge trials. In 1956 Nikita Khrushchev suggested that Stalin had engineered Kirov's assassination.