Today, 104 years ago, on August 30, 1918, the Social Revolutionary Fanny Kaplan attempted to assassinate Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars at the Michelson plant in Moscow. On the morning of the same day, the chairman of the Petrograd Cheka, Moses Uritsky, was killed in Petrograd. These were not the first terrorist attacks against well-known Bolsheviks, but they played a key role in changing the internal policy of the Soviet government.
Kaplan's shots from a Browning M1900 resulted in the premature death of Lenin, the leader of the young Soviet Republic. Which, of course, influenced the choice of the path for the further development of the state. An official decree announcing the Red Terror was issued only hours after the Kaplan shooting and called for an all-out combat against enemies of the revolution. The Red Terror and repressions that followed this assassination continued the chain of bloody traces in the history of the world's first socialist state. In the next few months, about 800 political opponents of Bolsheviks were executed and many more put in concentration camps.
Kaplan's implication in the crime is recorded in textbooks and encyclopedias, but some historians question her involvement. The main arguments that are put forward is that she was nearly blind (due to 11 years of labor camp) and none of the witnesses actually saw her fire the gun. Another argument points to the contradictions between the official Soviet account and official documents. Many consider the ‘Kaplan legend’ as another Bolshevik canard.
It reminds us of the halfblind Marinus van der Lubbe who was the first Dutch resistance hero to rise up against the Nazis. Whether or not he was abused by the Nazis is still unclear. An answer to that question will probably never be found.
One day after the Reichstag arson, Reich President Von Hindenburg granted Hitler unlimited power with an ‘emergency decree for the protection of people and state.’ A horrific turning point in history.