Were there any attempts to assassinate Stalin? I haven't learned of any attempt to kill him, was he so brutal that no one tried to kill him?

  • 3
    Tito supposedly said, "Stop sending assassins to murder me... if this doesn't stop, I will send a man to Moscow and there'll be no need to send any more."; there's apparently a theory that he did. Nov 28, 2012 at 9:04
  • VtC as trivial
    – MCW
    Aug 26, 2016 at 14:02
  • I always have wondered what the basis of his power was as an old, sick man. Or even when younger -- he was never physically imposing.
    – Jeff
    Feb 16, 2017 at 20:09
  • He died in very unclear circumstances, some believe it was assassination.
    – vpekar
    Feb 17, 2017 at 0:27

3 Answers 3


There were in fact several domestic attempts to assassinate Stalin.


  1. November 16, 1931. Ogaryov met Stalin on the Ilyinka str. near house 5/2 and tried to pull out his gun, but was stopped by a member of pre-KGB.

  2. In early 1930-s, there was a society of people who called themselves "Klubok" (something like "a roll, a ball" if translated into English). Among the members there were military people, Enukidze, Peterson. There are mentions that there was an assassination attempt in the Kremlin library in January of 1935 done by Orlova-Pavlova, but Stalin was not hurt. Most of the people found connected to this, were executed.

  3. May 1, 1937. An unconfirmed version of an assassination attempt based solely on the fact that that day, Voroshilov (the Defense Commissar) actually had a gun in his gun holster, which he never had neither before nor after the day.

  4. French intelligence has some documents that Leutenant Danilov entered the Kremlin on March 11, 1938 using false documents and dressed as a pre-KGB type officer. He wanted to kill Stalin, and when he was being questioned after, he said that he was a member of a secret organization that had a goal to get the revenge for Tukhachevskiy's execution.

  5. Operation "Bear" Far Eastern's KGB chief, G.S.Lyushkov, desserted to Japan in 1938. The plan was to kill Stalin while he was bathing in Matsesta (in hot springs). The attempt failed because the terrorist group was shot at while they were crossing the border, three out of six people died. Another attempt by Japanese secret service was to put a bomb into the Lenin's Mausoleum such that it would explode on May 1, 1938 during the parade. The failure of both of these attempts is attributed to the information provided by a Soviet agent named Leo who was working in Manchuria.

  6. November 6, 1942. Dmitriev, a deserter, started firing a weapon at the government vehicle leaving the Kremlin. After making several shots, he was disarmed, no one was hurt. It is believed that he wanted to kill Mikoyan. According to the theories, he was either looking for a revenge, or was mentally ill.

  7. German intelligence wanted to kill Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill during the Tehran Conference in 1943, but their plans failed because of leaked information.

Besides all mentioned above, there were also accidents that seemed like assassination attempts.

To sum up, why there were not so many attempts to kill or overthrow Stalin? In my opinion, there are two reasons. The first reason is propaganda. Most of the USSR loved Stalin but it was mostly because people were brainwashed about how good he was and he provided this and that and so on. The second reason is that people were being afraid so much to even tell limericks about him because if someone else told on them, they would be executed or sent into Siberia to chop wood.

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    This is certainly a very detailed account of domestic attempts to assassinate Stalin. I agree with your assessment, despite all the positive attention he received from the war and economic improvement, his purges became widely known and thus the price to be paid for criticizing him. This mixture lead to one of the most potent personality cults in modern history, the results of which lingered after his death, noticeable in incidents such as the outrage exhibited in response to Khrushchev's so-called "secret speech" in the 20th communist party congress which denounced Stalin. Apr 7, 2012 at 15:49
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    A desserter (n. 6)? What's that - a disgruntled pastry chef? Dec 23, 2012 at 1:29
  • People got 10 years of forced labor for using newspaper with Stalin's photo to wrap food. Saying limericks was close to treason. Jun 9, 2016 at 21:42
  • I'm especially interested in item 3, Voroshilov had a gun in his holster? Where can I read more about this? If they really felt it was an assassination attempt, then why did Voroshilov remain a key Kremlin figure at least up to 1940? He even had an angry outburst at Stalin around that time that included smashing a dinnerplate with pork right in front of him! Even with all that, Voroshilov was never purged and lived to 1969.
    – DrZ214
    Oct 4, 2016 at 6:52
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    My speculation about why none of the inner circle tried anything: The people in a position to do anything needed the help of people they could not trust.
    – EvilSnack
    Nov 12, 2020 at 23:02

Yes, in 1944 there was operation Zeppelin, a German plot to assassinate Stalin. Also, Beria supposedly claimed to have killed Stalin, although it's more likely that this is a reference to him delaying treatment after Stalin had a stroke.

While Stalin was responsible for the imprisonment and executions of many Russians, it is also worth remembering that Stalin was also widely revered by the people of the Soviet Union for modernizing the country and fighting off the German invasion (as hard as it is to understand, there are some Russians who still love Stalin to this day). The relative lack of attempts to kill Stalin are also due to his relative popularity in comparison to Hitler. While Hitler was also widely popular among Germans (duh), his rule was during a period of national crisis whereas the Soviet Union in the 1930's was rapidly ascending in terms of economic and military power.

  • -1, my friend. Many Russians these days don't really care who Stalin was. There are hardly any old people left who, as you say, "still love Stalin to this day".
    – Eugene
    Apr 6, 2012 at 13:58
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    Unless he wrote this post in the 1940s, his phrase "many Russians still love Stalin to this day" means that many Russians still love Stalin on April 7, 2012, which is not true.
    – Eugene
    Apr 6, 2012 at 23:41
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    @Eugene how do you define "truly loves"?
    – Anixx
    Apr 7, 2012 at 9:54
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    @Eugene I'm not suggesting that the number of people who are still found of Stalin are in any way the majority, or even near a majority of people, in Russia today. I would think that there are far more people who don't like Stalin or don't really care one way or the other. Despite that, my understanding is that he is still respected amongst some (mostly older, and thus rapidly declining number of) Russians who associate Stalin with Russian dominance. I was simply pointing out that their numbers would be larger than one might expect given how Stalin acted. Apr 7, 2012 at 15:38
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    @BrotherJack: That I agree with, a very good point. There are some people who would still want to live with Stalin in power, but those are some of the few people who did not lose anything because of him. But still to say that "many" people love him would be an over exaggeration. Some, not many. Details, maybe, but it is history, and the details are just as important :)
    – Eugene
    Apr 7, 2012 at 23:38

There were a lot of attempt or plot to kill Stalin but those were top state secrets (and archives not allowed to reserch even nowadays),

1903(?)I was read about an attempt in 1903- a rich Russian factory worker hired Chechen hit-men to kill Stalin but he survived (Simon-Sebag Monyefiore: Young Stalin).

  1. The British secret service in the territory of allied major power to commit a murder as well if get order and without any licence of the allied country). Stephen Cook dug after the operation of Stephen Alley (a British secret service agent in 1918 in Russia) , who was appointed the incompetent and uninteresting Hoare in 1917 to replace him as office leader(I do not know athe exact title). After the Bolshevik took over , but before the Brest- Litovsk peace, was a big debate in the Central Committee . Trotsky and his followers refused to sign a peace with the Germans , they expect a further outbreak of revolutions in the territory of the German Empire and the Monarchy , while Lenin and his circle have liked to have signed . Alley, unearthed after his death, the documents show that unmade all out to convince the Central Committee to hold out . There was no chance , because the numerical majority of the fifteen members would not vote in favor of signing . The 1918th 23 February vote to ensure a positive outcome , London decided to Lenin`s one of the not wide-known supporter should be killed, so not in a position who would vote yes to the next . Alley 's words : "I got a telegram that must be eliminated (Joseph)Stalin . However, as was discussed with them, it does not seem like a good idea , because one would have to liquidate myself . When I got back to London ... I was told that someone was appointed to take my place , this one is E. T. Boyce was one of the subordinates in Russia. I thought that was the reason for his dismissal suddenly that I did not kill Stalin , who as history shown , became the leader of Bolshevik Russia . "(Cook, Andrew: To Kill Rasputin: The Life and Death of Grigori Rasputin 2006).

1943 ""Nobody ever wrote about it, no one knows about it. I was a decoy to draw the attention of foreign intelligence. Stalin was already in Yalta. "But it didn't work. Two attempts were made in Yalta to kill the real Stalin. Our intelligence failed. I was back in Moscow by then.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-559234/The-man-Stalins-body-double-finally-tells-story.html#ixzz2o4VRY5Ro "

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