August 30, 1918 – Lenin Survives Assassination Attempt
Pictured – Fanny Kaplan causes a scene.
Great Man history is, thankfully, no longer in vogue, but one cannot help but wonder what would have happened if Vladimir Lenin had been assassinated at the beginning of the Russian Civil War. On August 30 he was shot while leaving a factory he had been speaking at by Fanny Kaplan (alias of Feiga Haimovna Roytblat). One bullet from Kaplan’s revolver struck Lenin in the lung, the other lodged in his shoulder.
Kaplan was a Socialist Revolutionary, who like many non-Bolsheviks on the Russian left saw Lenin as a despotic traitor to the revolution. Committed to her cause, she allowed herself to be arrested, and gave nothing up under interrogation except for a brief statement on her life.
My name is Fanya Kaplan. Today I shot Lenin. I did it on my own. I will
not say from whom I obtained my revolver. I will give no details. I had
resolved to kill Lenin long ago. I consider him a traitor to the
Revolution. I was exiled to Akatui for participating in an assassination
attempt against a Tsarist official in Kiev. I spent 11 years at hard
labour. After the Revolution, I was freed. I favoured the Constituent
Assembly and am still for it.
The Cheka, Lenin’s secret police, executed her several days later. The Cheka began an official campaign of Red Terror the next day in an attempt to root out other enemies of the Bolshevik revolution.