Saturday, 30 August 2014

Assassinating Lenin

On 30 August 1918, a disgruntled Socialist Revolutionary, the 28 year old Feiga 'Fanny' Kaplan, fired three times at Vladimir Lenin as he left a factory where he had been addressing the workers.

He was hit twice, once in the chest, whilst another bullet lodged in his neck.

Despite the severity of his injuries however he refused to leave the Kremlin to attend hospital fearing a further attempt on his life.

Lenin survived but it was touch and go, and it is believed that the wounds he sustained in the attack led to the series of strokes that would end his life just six years later.

Fanny was arrested at the scene but was she responsible? 

She had suffered terribly during periods of imprisonment and her experiences had left her almost blind, and she used a stick to guide her. When the bullet was eventually removed from Lenin's neck four years later it was found to be of a different calibre to the pistol Fanny had been arrested with, and none of the witnesses to the assassination attempt ever testified to having seen her fire the shots.

Fanny readily confessed and during four days of interrogation obdurately refused to implicate anyone else. Frustrated, on 1 September, her captors dragged her into the yard and shot her once through the back of the head. Her body was then placed in a barrel doused in petrol and set alight. 

There would be no trace of her remains for others to worship.

The day after Fanny's execution, Lenin inaugarated the "Red Terror" that would seek to exterminate all enemies of the Bolshevik Revolution and claim the lives of more than 800,000 people.

As Lenin would remark: "You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs".


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