Sergei Kirov Museum

Saint Petersburg / Russia

Sergei Kirov museum is situated at the former Tenement building of the Russian Insurance Society. The building was erected before the Revolution by three architects of the famous Benois family. This explains the unofficial name of the building the house of three Benois. By the standards of its time, the building was very elaborately designed and had all necessary amenities – central heating, hot and cold water supply. After the Revolution, the house was requisitioned. Some of the apartments were assigned to Bolshevik elite while others were turned into communal apartments.

In 1926, one of the apartments on the fifth floor was given to Sergei Kirov, who was the head of the Bolshevik party division in Leningrad. The apartment had five rooms. Kirov and his wife Maria Markus lived there for eight years. On December 1 1934 Kirov was shot in a corridor of the Smolny Institute. The impact of this event on life in Leningrad was huge – the era of Kirov was over, and the era of mass arrests, repressions, and executions started. What was the cause, and what was the consequence is still unclear.

Sergei Kirov was a real living legend. His popularity was enormous. Его популярность была невероятна.working people called him our Kirych, which was absolutely sincere. Displayed at the museum are numerous gifts which Kirov received from workers of Leningrad and the region.

The atmosphere of the apartment itself is interesting: you won’t see luxury there, but you’ll feel prosperity. Everything has traces of Stalin’s times. Some details catch attention: American radio receiver Westinghouse in the dining room, and a traditional ice-chest stands in the hallway next to Leningrad’s first refrigerator, interestingly, made by General Electric.

All those furnishings weren’t Sergei Kirov’s private possessions as it was official housing. A memorial museum was opened at the apartment in 1955.

As part of the museum tour, you will learn three main versions of Kirov’s murder but none of them has been proved. The murder of Sergei Kirov remains one of the mysteries of the 20th century like the murder of John F.Kennedy.