Communist Murder Mystery: Did Stalin Have Lenin Bumped Off?
While Republican politicians try their best to create another Red Scare in the U.S., scientists at the University of Maryland last week tried to solve a nearly hundred-year-old mystery: what killed Communist leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin?
Lenin died of a massive stroke in 1924--but he was quite young, and speakers at a "clinicopathological conference" took it upon themselves to answer two questions: "Why did he have a fatal stroke at such a young age? Was there something more to his death than history has acknowledged?"
The New York Times reported that the scientists reviewed Lenin's family and medical history, including the bullets that remained in his body from an assassination attempt, and his exercise and health regimens. They were interested particularly in the fact that before his death, Lenin suffered several seizures--which are unusual in a stroke patient, leading them to wonder if poison were the cause.
Dr. Lurie concurred on Friday, telling the conference that poison was in his opinion the most likely immediate cause of Lenin’s death. The most likely perpetrator? Stalin, who saw Lenin as his main obstacle to taking over the Soviet Union and wanted to get rid of him.
Stalin, according to the Times, had sent a top-secret note to the Politburo in 1923 claiming that Lenin had asked him to help him commit suicide. While Stalin claimed to be unable to do so, the fact that an order was given after Lenin's death that no toxicology be done on his body makes the allegation of poison impossible to prove.
Still, it's fascinating to wonder how different things might have been if Lenin had lived and Stalin hadn't wound up in charge of the USSR.