The Meaning of Eponymous

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The Death of Kirov

Shot from about three feet away in the back of the neck by a Nagan revolver, Kirov fell against a post and then slumped to the floor, face down. Kirov and his assailant were not alone at this moment. One S. A. Platych, an electrician, was standing on a ladder near the end of the corridor. He subsequently testified that he had seen Nikolaev direct the pistol now at his own head. The electrician then flung a screwdriver at Nikolaev, knocking the assailant to the floor and causing the revolver to discharge into a nearby cornice. (Platych in a separate deposition stated that he had not seen Nikolaev use the weapon at all. That he saw the man slump to the floor and the weapon was near him when he did so. Platych then picked up the revolver and threw it into the corner - Which statement is the truth no one is quite sure.)

Borisov, the hapless bodyguard, heard the shots and ran around the corner to witness the remains of the gruesome scene.

Others had been meeting in a conference room near where the murder took place. As Borisov achieved the corner these men poured into the corridor, Ivanchenko, Rosliakov, Ugarov, Kodatskii, Mikhail'chenko and Struppe. Rosliakov testified that he found Nikolaev slumped on the floor with the revolver in his hand. He took it out of the "assassin's" hand and gave it to Ugarov. The NKVD chief, Medved, was then called.

Another witness to the murder scene was Stero Gorokova. She came out of her office upon hearing the shots and testified that she saw Mikhail'chenko leaning over the body of Nikolaev. She could not see what he was doing.

There is considerable conflict in the testimony of witnesses of Kirov's demise. Some of this conflict can be attributed to perspective, confusion, or the passage of time. Others give it a more insidious connotation...

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