Kirov, Sergei Mironovich (syĭrgāˈ mērôˈnəvĭch kēˈrəf) [key], 1888–1934, Russian Soviet leader. He fought in the civil war of 1918–20 and rose to power as one of Stalin's most trusted aides. A member of the Communist party Politburo from 1930, he was secretary of the party at Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) when he was assassinated, probably at Stalin's order. However, Stalin used Kirov's murder to institute the party purge and the treason trials of the late 1930s. Among those tried and executed for Kirov's murder were Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Rykov.
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