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Brief biographies of historical figures featured in the novels.

In The Blood Stiller…

1-AnnaAnderson1922

Anderson, Anna  (1896 – 1984)

Pretender to the Russian throne. She claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. In 1938 her supporters filed a suit in the German courts to prove that she was the Tsar’s daughter and heir, survivor of the massacre in Ipatiev House. In 1970, the court ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove that she was the Grand Duchess. She married American professor Jack Manahan in 1968 and settled in Charlottesville, Virginia where she died of pneumonia. She was buried at Castle Seeon Germany. DNA testing in 1994 seemed to prove that Anderson was not Grand Duchess Anastasia.

2-Yuri_Andropov_-_Soviet_Life_August_1983

Andropov, Yuri  (1914 – 1984)

Leader of the Soviet Union from 1982 to 1984. He was head of the KGB, Russia’s State Security Service from 1967 to 1982 and known for his ruthlessness in putting down the Hungarian uprising in 1956, and for the brutality of his agents. He died of ill health in Moscow and was buried in the Kremlin wall.

3-Lavrenti_Beria_Stalins_family

Beria, Lavrenty  (1899 – 1953)

Chief of Soviet Security and Secret Police, NKVD during World War II. Deputy Premier of USSR from 1946 to 1953. During Stalin’s purge (1937-38) he and his organization tortured and killed many of the dictator’s political enemies. After Stalin’s death in March 1953, he made a grab for power but was arrested by a group lead by Khrushchev, Molotov and Malenkov. He was executed, cremated and buried in an unmarked grave in a forest near Moscow.

4-BotkinES

BotkinDr. Evgeny (1865 – 1918)

Personal physician to Tsar Nicholas II and his family. He followed the Romanovs into exile and was imprisoned with them in Ipatiev House. His personal effects were found at the Four Brothers Mine near Ekaterinburg, which indicated he had been murdered with the family.

5-Leonid_Brežněv_Bundesarchiv

Brezhnev, Leonid  (1906 – 1982)

Leader of the Soviet Union. General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death. He succeeded Khrushchev and ruled over a period of economic stagnation. He died of a heart attack and was buried in the Kremlin Wall.

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Buxhoeveden, Baroness Sophie (1883 – 1956)

Lady-in-waiting to Tsarina Alexandra of Russia. She followed the Romanovs to prison in Tobolsk, but was not permitted to join them in Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. She was released from prison by the Bolsheviks, and escaped across Siberia to Denmark. Later, she refused to support Anna Anderson’s claim to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia. She died in England in a grace and favor apartment granted by George V.

7-Zhang_Zuolin3

Chang, Marshall Tso-lin (1875 – 1928)

Powerful warlord who ruled Manchuria from 1916 to 1928. Known as the ‘Old Marshall’, he was allied with Japan and supported the restoration of China’s Qing Dynasty. He was killed near Shenyang by a bomb planted under his train by a Japanese Kwantung army officer.

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Dolgorukov, Prince Vasily (1868 – 1918)

Marshal of the Imperial Court and aide to Tsar Nicholas II. He followed the Tsar and his family into exile and prison in Tsarskoe Selo and Tobolsk, but was not permitted to join them at Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. He was arrested in April 1918, imprisoned and shot in the woods on the outskirts of Ekaterinburg on July 10. He was buried after the White Army recaptured the town.

Ïðåäñåäàòåëü Â×Ê-ÎÃÏÓ Ôåëèêñ Ýäìóíäîâè÷ Äçåðæèíñêèé (1877-1926 ã. ã.).

Dzerzhinsky, Felix  (1877 – 1926)

First head of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police, established in 1917. He organized the reign of terror to keep the Bolsheviks in power. Known as ‘Iron Felix’ for the Cheka’s merciless torture and mass executions without trial, he died of a heart attack in Moscow and was buried in the Kremlin Wall.

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Gadja, Captain Radola  (1892 – 1948)

Leader of the Czech regiments in Siberia. He was promoted to Major General in the White Army, but was dismissed by Admiral Kolchak in 1919. He was involved in a failed coup against Kolchak and fled to Europe. After WWII, he was jailed for being a Fascist sympathizer and died in poverty in Prague.

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George V King of England (1865 – 1936)

Grandson of Queen Victoria and first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II. He succeeded his father Edward VII in 1910. After the Russian Revolution, he refused asylum to the Tsar and his family because he feared greater political unrest from the socialists in Britain. He died of ill health and was succeeded by his son Edward VI.

12-Maurice_Janin

Janin, General Maurice (1862 – 1946)

French Commander of Allied Forces in Siberia during the Russian Civil War. He guaranteed the safety of Admiral Kolchak, head of the White Siberian Government, then ordered the Czech Legion to arrest the Admiral and hand him over to the Social Revolutionary government at Irkutsk. The Admiral was tried and executed. As a result, Janin was relieved of his command, ordered to return to France and demoted. He died in France shortly after the end of WWII.

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Kerensky, Alexander (1881 – 1970)

Prime Minister of the Russian Provisional Government from July 21, 1917 to November 8 1917. After the October Bolshevik Revolution, he escaped through Finland to London and then France where he actively opposed the Bolshevik regime. During the Russian Civil War he opposed both the Reds and the Whites. At the beginning of WWII he moved to the United States. He died in New York and was buried in Putney Vale Cemetery in London after the Russian Orthodox Church in New York refused him burial.

14-Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-B0628-0015-035_Nikita_S._Chruschtschow

Khrushchev, Nikita  (1894 – 1971)

Leader of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 during the Cold War. He is known for his denunciation of Stalin’s purge in his famous Secret Speech. He supported the early Soviet space program and attempted agricultural reforms. His reign at the height of the Cold War resulted in the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. He was removed from power in 1964 by party colleagues and succeeded by Leonid Brezhnev. He died of a heart attack in Moscow. He was denied a state funeral and burial in the Kremlin Wall. He was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

 

15-Kolchak_chef_suprême_de_la_Russie

Kolchak, Admiral Alexander (1874 – 1920)

Supreme Ruler of The White Siberian Government in Omsk from 1918 to 1920. Previously he was a Polar explorer and Commander of the Black Sea Fleet in 1916. He retreated by train from the Red Army advance to Omsk with his government and followers, including his mistress Mme. Timireva. During the retreat he was arrested by the Czech Legion on the order of General Janin and handed over to the Social Revolutionary government in Irkutsk. He was shot and his body pushed under the ice of the Ushakovka River.

 

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Kornilov, General Lavr  (1870 –1918)

Commander in Chief of the Provisional Government Army. In September 1917 he led the Third Army Corps in an attempt to get rid of Lenin and the Bolshevik Soviets and to place Petrograd under martial law. Kerensky, fearing a military coup, dismissed Kornilov and his officers, and imprisoned them in Bhykov Monastery. Kornilov and his men escaped to the Don District, where he became Military Commander of the White Volunteer Army. He was killed by a Red Army shell landing on his headquarters near Ekaterinodar and buried there. The Bolsheviks retook the town, dug up his body, dragged it through the streets and burned it on a rubbish dump in the main square of the town.

17-Camargo-Mathilde_Kschessinskaya-1897

Kschessinskaya, Mathilde (1872 – 1971)

Mistress of the future Tsar Nicholas II. A Russian Prima Ballerina, she was the subject of gossip for conducting simultaneous affairs with the Tsar’s cousins, Grand Dukes Sergei Mikhailovich and Andrei Vladimirovich, giving birth to a son Vladimir in 1902. She fled to France after the revolution and married Grand Duke Andrei, possible father to her son. In 1929 she opened a ballet school in Paris and taught the famous ballerinas, Dame Margot Fonteyn and Dame Alicia Markova. She died in Paris, eight months short of her 100th birthday and was buried in St. Geneviève des Bois, the Russian cemetery in Paris.

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Lenin, Vladimir;  born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (1870 – 1924)

Leader of the October Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. He became the leader of the Bolshevik Russian government from 1922 to 1924. Once in power, he began to confiscate all private property, and also ended Russia’s part in WWI. He founded the Cheka and instituted the Red Terror to eliminate opposition and consolidate power. He died after a third stroke at his estate at Gorki, outside Moscow, was embalmed and placed on exhibition in Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow on January 27, 1924 where he remains today.

19b Merkulov Vsevolod Nikolaevich

Merkulov, Vsevolod  (1895 – 1953)

Head of NKGB, state security from February to July 1941, and from April 1943 to March 1946. He worked for Beria, head of the Russian secret police. After Stalin’s death, he was arrested and executed by firing squad along with his Beria and five others. The bodies were cremated and buried in an unknown location near Moscow.

20-Evgenij_Miller

Miller, General Evgeny  (1867 – 1939)

Chairman of the Russian All-Military Union, an active anti-communist organization, from 1930-1937. He wasCommander of the White Army in Northern Russian during the Civil War and after the White defeat, settled in France. He was kidnapped in France by Russian agents, drugged and placed in a steamer trunk on a Russian ship to Moscow. He was tortured in the Lubyanka by the secret police and shot nineteen months later.

21 Vladimir Purishkevich

Purishkevich, Vladimir (1870 – 1920)

A monarchist politician known for his part in the 1916 assassination of Rasputin in an attempt to save the monarchy. In 1917 he fled to Southern Russia, which was still controlled by the White Army. He died from typhus in Novorossiysk.

22-417px-Vladimir_Putin_12015

Putin, Vladimir (1952 –)

Current President of Russia. A KGB officer for sixteen years, he became Acting President after Yeltsin’s resignation in 1999 and then Prime Minister. He was President from 2000 to 2012. After a change in election laws, he ran for a third term in 2012 and was re-elected President for a six-year term, which was reconvened in the 2018 presidential elections.

23-2735-715145

Reilly, Lieutenant Sidney George, MC; Born Georgi Rosenblum (1873 – 1925)

Russian-born secret agent for British intelligence, known as the Ace of Spies. He was deeply involved in espionage during the Russian Revolution and Civil War and attempted to overthrow the Bolshevik regime in 1918. A master of deception, he may have been a model for James Bond. In September 1925, Russian agents lured him over the Finnish border to the Soviet Union on the pretext of contacting a member of The Trust, a fraudulent anti-communist group. He was interrogated in Lubyanka prison and executed in a forest near Moscow. Rumors circulated that he was alive and had become an advisor to Russian intelligence.

24b Dmitri Pavlovich

Romanov, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich (1891 – 1941)

First cousin to Tsar Nicholas II. He participated in the murder of Rasputin and as punishment was banished to the WWI Persian Front. He escaped from the Bolsheviks to London with British help and lived mainly in France. He suffered from tuberculosis and died in a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland. Rumours circulated that the Bolsheviks had murdered him.

25-Ataman_semenov

Semenov, Ataman Gregory (1890 – 1946)

Commander –in- chief of the Chita Military District in the Trans Baikal region. Known for his brutality, he controlled the railways in the region and held up trains and extracted bribes for allowing supplies for Kolchak’s forces to pass through his territory.After the White defeat in Siberia, Kolchak passed command of the eastern territory to him, and he continued to fight the Bolsheviks until 1921 He eventually settled in Manchuria, worked with Japanese intelligence, lead the exiled Russian and Cossacks in the area and was employed by Puyi, the last Manchu Emperor of China. In September 1945 during the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, he was captured by Soviet paratroopers and taken to Moscow. He was charged with counterrevolutionary activities, and executed by hanging.

26-Young_General_Shkuro

Shkuro, Lieutenant General Andrei (1887 – 1947)

Commander of the First Cossack Division in the White Army. He went into exile in 1920 in Serbia and France. During WWII, he organized a unit of anti-Soviet Cossacks, White emigres and Soviet prisoners to fight with Nazi Germany to free Russia from Communism. At the end of the war, he surrendered to the British, was forcibly repatriated to Russia and executed by hanging.

27b Sokolov

Sokolov, Nicolas (1882 – 1924)

Appointed January 1919 by Admiral Kolchak, head of The White Siberian Government, to investigate the assassination of the Romanovs. When the Red Army recaptured Ekaterinburg, Sokolov fled to France with the physical evidence he had collected. In 1924, he published his seven volume ‘The Judicial Enquiry into the Assassination of the Russian Imperial Family’, which concluded that the Romanovs had been murdered in Ipatiev House and their bodies burned to ashes. He died in Sabres, France shortly after publication of his work.

28b Stalin

Stalin, Joseph: born Iosif Dzhugashvili (1878 – 1953)

All-powerful Dictator of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 1953. He was General Secretary of the Central Committee from 1922 to 1953 and led the Soviet Union during WWII. He was a member of the Bolshevik party and took part in the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. As General Secretary, he consolidated power after the death of Lenin in 1924 and thereafter ruled by fear. He forced Russia to become an industrialized country and began an agricultural program, which resulted in famine in 1932-1933. During his repressive regime, millions of people were sent to the Gulag. During the Great Purge (1937-38) he eliminated his enemies and old Bolsheviks who were major figures of the revolution on the pretext of rooting out enemies of the government. Thousands were executed. Officially Stalin died four days after a massive stroke, but rumours abound that he might have been murdered by warfarin, a tastelessrat poison possibly added to his wine by Beria or Khrushchev. His body was embalmed and exhibited in Lenin’s tomb. On 31 October 1961 it was removed from the mausoleum and buried in the Kremlin Wall.

29b Anna Timiriova

Timireva, Mme. Anna (1893 – 1975)

Admiral Kolchak’s mistress. She was the wife of Navy officer Sergei Timiryov, a friend and subordinate of Kolchak’s. She divorced in 1918, joined Kolchak in Siberia and travelled with the Admiral during the Siberian government’s retreat from the Red Army. She accompanied him to prison at Irkutsk after his arrest by the local Social Revolutionary government. After his execution, she was released, but was hounded by authorities and imprisoned seven times. In 1950, she was released and worked as a set designer for the Rybinsk Theater. During the Khrushchev thaw, she was given a small pension and played small parts in movies until her death.

Leon Trotsky | Лев Троцкий

Trotsky, Leon; born Lev Bronstein (1879 – 1940)

People’s Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs. He was the founder and first leader of the Red Army and a chief architect of the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War. A member of the first Politburo, and effective rival to Stalin, he was removed from power in 1927 and deported from the Soviet Union in 1929. While in exile in Mexico, he actively opposed Stalin and was assassinated by Ramon Mercador, a Soviet agent.

31b Vyrubova

Vyrubova, Mme. Anna (1884 – 1964)

Best friend and constant companion of Tsarina Alexandra. A religious mystic, she became a devotee of Rasputin when he supposedly saved her life after she was severely injured in a railroad accident. Her small house outside the gates of Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo became the secret meeting place of Rasputin and Tsarina Alexandra because these visits outside the palace were not entered in official court records. After Rasputin’s murder she was moved into the palace for safety, but then was arrested by Kerensky’s government and imprisoned at the Peter and Paul Fortress. She was released and escaped to Finland in 1920. She became a nun and died in Helsinki.

32-Basil_Yakovlev

Yakovlev, Vasily;  born Konstantin Mâčin (1885 – 1938)

Appointed by the Central Executive Committee of the Bolsheviks to transfer Tsar Nicholas II and his family from Tobolsk to Omsk. He was then ordered to divert the train to Ekaterinburg. There he handed the prisoners over to the local Soviet. He was arrested and executed in 1938 during Stalin’s Purge.

33-Yakov_Mikhailovich_Yurovsky_1918

Yurovsky, Yakov (1878 – 1938)

Commandant of Ipatiev House, Member of Ural Regional Soviet and CHEKA, Bolshevik secret police. Yurovsky was in charge of the Cheka squad who murdered Tsar Nicholas II, his family and retainers on night of July 16/17 1918. He died in Moscow of a peptic ulcer.

34-Prince_Felix_Yusupov

Yusupov, Prince Felix (1887 – 1967 )

Known for taking part in Rasputin’s murder in the Yusupov Moika Palace in St Petersburg. The Prince, from one of the wealthiest families in Russia, was married to Princess Irina Romanova, niece of Tsar Nicholas II. After the murder, Yusupov was not prosecuted but placed underhouse arrest at his estate outside St. Petersburg.He escaped the Bolsheviks, wrote two books about the murder and died in France in 1967. He was buried in St. Geneviève des Bois cemetery in Paris.

In The Blood Archive…

Bogd Khan

Bulganin, Nikolai (1895–1975)

Deputy Premier, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Politburo. He served under Stalin as deputy Commissar of Defense during World War II. After Stalin’s death he became a supporter of Khrushchev who forced him to resign his posts after he joined an attempt to overthrow him in 1957. He was retired on a pension and died in Moscow in 1975.

Choibalsan, Khorloogiin

Choibalsan, Khorloogiin (1895–1952)

Communist dictator of the Mongolia People’s Republic, known as the Stalin of Mongolia. A great admirer of Stalin, he conducted Soviet style purges in the 1930’s against “enemies of the revolution.” Over thirty thousand Mongolians, among them many of the Buddhist clergy, were murdered. He continued to prosecute Buddhists and destroy their temples in an attempt to eradicate the religion. In 1949 Choibalsan fell out with Stalin over his refusal to back unification of Mongolia. However, he went to Moscow for treatment of kidney cancer and died there on January 26, 1952.

heinrich_himmler

Himmler, Heinrich (1900–1945)

Head of the SS and from 1943 onward minister of the interior and head of the Gestapo, German secret police during World War II. At Hitler’s direction, Himmler built and oversaw the concentration camps and directed the extermination of six million Jews, and other victims deemed undesirable by the regime. At the end of the war, Himmler tried to hide from the Red Army by disguising his identity, but was discovered and arrested by British forces. He committed suicide on May 23, 1945.

Bogd Khan

Khan, Bogd (1869–1924)

Theocratic leader of Outer Mongolia in 1911 after the country declared independence from China. Also known as the Bogd Lama, he was the eighth Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, reincarnation of Taranatha, a renowned scholar and writer, and third in importance in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. In 1919 Chinese troops invaded the country and placed him under house arrest. He was freed in 1921 by Baron von Ungern- Sternberg, a renegade White Russian officer, and his troops, who drove out the Chinese occupiers. He was returned to nominal power, but was controlled by the Baron. After the communist takeover later in 1921, the Bogd Khan remained on the throne as a figurehead until his death in 1924.

adolf-hitler-9340144-1-402

Hitler, Adolph (1889–1945)

Dictator of Nazi Germany from 1934–1945. Hitler was responsible for World War II and the Holocaust, which resulted in the deaths of 6 million Jews and millions of others he considered racially inferior. His doctrine of anti-Semitism and lebensraum for the German people resulted in the Nazi occupation of most of Europe and North Africa. On 30 April 1945 when Germany faced defeat, Hitler and Eva Braun, his companion, were married forty hours before they both committed suicide. Their bodies were burned outside Hitler’s bunker in Berlin.

Tecumseh

Tecumseh (1768–1813)

Leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy that opposed the United States during The Indian Wars and the War of 1812. Tecumseh was born in Ohio in the Northwest Territory and fought against the settlers encroaching on Native American land. He aspired to unite all tribes into an independent Native American nation east of the Mississippi under the protection of the British. In the War of 1812, Tecumseh fought with the British against the Americans and was killed in The Battle of the Thames in October 1813 ending his dream of an independent Native American nation.

Ungern-Sternberg

Ungern-Sternberg, Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von (1885–1921)

Tsarist Lieutenant General in the Russian Civil War who became a renegade and with his mercenaries, took control of Outer Mongolia from the Chinese in 1921. He was called the Mad Baron because of his erratic behaviour and torture and violent treatment of enemies and his own troops. His beliefs were a confused mixture of Buddhism, mysticism and superstition. The Baron’s great ambition was to restore both the Russian monarchy and Genghis Khan’s Great Mongol Empire under the rule of the Bogd Khan. He released the Bogd Khan, spiritual and political head of Mongolia, from the Chinese and put him back on the throne. During his short occupation of Outer Mongolia, von Ungern-Sternberg ruled through fear, intimidation, and capricious brutal violence. After a defeat against a combined Red Army Mongolian force in southern Siberia, he was taken prisoner and tried in Novonikolaevsk, found guilty and executed on September 15, 1921.

yeltsin

Yeltsin, Boris (1931–2007)

First President of the Russian Federation, from 1991 to 1999 after the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev and the final dissolution of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991. He won re- election in 1996 but was unpopular after he introduced privatization of Russia’s economy, which brought about a series of economic disasters. Much of the national wealth and resources became the property of a small group of oligarchs. Yeltsin attempted to dissolve parliament in October 1993 when it tried to remove him from office. He was responsible for the military attack on the Russian White House, which resulted in 187 deaths. On December 31, 1999 Yeltsin resigned and appointed Vladimir Putin as his successor. He died of heart failure on April 23, 2007 and was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

In The Devil’s Tears…

beria2

Beria, Lavrenty  (1899 – 1953)

Chief of Soviet Security and Secret Police, NKVD during World War II. Deputy Premier of USSR from 1946 to 1953. In August 1920, he was Managing Director of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijan Communist Party. The following year, he became Deputy Chief of the Secret Operations Department of the Azerbaijan Cheka. During Stalin’s purge (1937-38) he and his organization tortured and killed many of the dictator’s political enemies. After Stalin’s death in March 1953, he made a grab for power but was arrested by a group led by Khrushchev, Molotov, and Malenkov. He was executed, cremated, and buried in an unmarked grave in a forest near Moscow.

Murtuza_Mukhtarov_photo

Mukhtarov, Murtuza (1857–1920)

Azerbaijani industrialist and millionaire, who built a grand palace in the Gothic style, now called the Wedding Palace. Born into a poor family in a village of Amirajan near Baku, Mukhtarov discovered oil on his land and became one of Baku’s tycoons. An expert in drilling, he set up his own company, manufacturing machinery for derricks and for drilling wells. He was a generous philanthropist who spon- sored schools and built mosques in Baku and surrounding areas. Af- ter the Bolsheviks took Baku in 1920, troops invaded his palace. He fought back, killing several, before turning his gun on himself.

dmipav

Romanov, Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich (1891–1941)

First cousin to Tsar Nicholas, he participated in the murder of Rasputin and as punishment was banished to the WWI Persian Front. He escaped from the Bolsheviks to London with British help, and lived mainly in France. He suffered from tuberculosis and died in a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland. Rumours circulated that the Bolsheviks had murdered him.

Shamil, Imam

Shamil, Imam (1797–1871)

Resistance and religious leader of the Muslim tribes in the Caucasian War with Russia. An expert at guerrilla war tactics, he held out against the Russians until 1859, when he surrendered at Gunib, Daghestan. He was exiled to Kaluga, then to Kiev. After making his pilgrimage to Mecca, he died in Medina in 1871, and was buried in Jannatui Baqi, a historical graveyard in that city.

Stepan_Shahumyan

Shaumian, Stepan (1878–1918)

Bolshevik revolutionary in the Caucasus; head of the Baku Commune, called the Lenin of the Caucasus. During his leadership, the Bolsheviks fostered violence between Baku’s Armenian and Azerbaijani populations, and tried to spread the revolution in the region. In July 1918, the Baku Commune lost support and were re- moved from power. Shaumian and his government, the 26 Baku Commissars, were executed by anti-Bolsheviks in September 1918.

stalin2

Stalin, Joseph: born Iosif Dzhugashvili (1878 – 1953)

All-powerful Dictator of the Soviet Union from May 6, 1941, to 1953. He was General Secretary of the Central Committee from 1922 to 1953, and led the Soviet Union during WWII. He began his revolutionary career in Tiflis, moving to Baku in 1907-1908. He was a member of the Bolshevik party and an early agitator in Baku, fomenting strikes among oil workers, conducting robberies, and extortion. He took part in the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, and was named Commissar of Nationalities in the new government. As General Secretary of the party, he consolidated power after the death of Lenin in 1924, and thereafter ruled by fear. He forced Russia to become an industrialized country and began an agricultural program, which resulted in famine in 1932-1933. During his repressive regime, millions of people were sent to the Gulag. In the Great Purge (1937-38) he eliminated his enemies and old Bolsheviks who were major figures of the revolution, on the pretext of rooting out enemies of the government. Thousands were executed. Officially, Stalin died four days after a massive stroke, but rumours abound that he might have been murdered with warfarin, a tasteless rat poison, possibly added to his wine by Beria or Khrushchev. His body was embalmed and exhibited in Lenin’s tomb. On October 31, 1961, it was removed from the mausoleum and buried in the Kremlin Wall.

Taghiyev, Zeynalabdin

Taghiyev, Zeynalabdin (1823–1924)

Azerbaijani tycoon who struck oil from one of his wells in Bibi- Heybat, in 1877, and became one of the richest men in the Russian Empire. He invested much of his fortune in factories, fisheries, construction, and shipbuilding. Known for his generous charity work, he built the Azeri National Theatre; a water pipeline to Baku, finished in 1916, before the revolution; and the first Muslim school for girls in the Middle East. In 1920, when the Bolsheviks took over Baku, his fortune and mansion were confiscated, but he was permitted to live in his summer home in Mardakan. At his death in 1924, his family were removed from the property. His wife, Sona, died in poverty on the streets of Baku in 1938. He was buried in Mardarkan.

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