Lenin poisoned?

Investigating deaths of historical figures! How cool!  This is the job I want.

American medical schools conduct “clinicopathological conferences” giving physicians and students an opportunity to study a famous medical case whose diagnosis is considered questionable.  In the end, a pathologist and an historian solve the case with a diagnosis using up-to-date medical tools and information.

The University of Michigan held a ‘clinicopathological conference’ (try to say that 10 times in a row ).  The attendees of the conference addressed the death of Lenin.  How did Lenin really die?  Is it possible that he was murdered?

Last Friday, 4 May 2012, an historian and a pathologist ‘solved’ the 88 year old mystery of Lenin’s death.

Dr. Laurie, the historian told the audience that Lenin may have been murdered.

“In 1921 Lenin started complaining that he was ill. From then until his death in 1924, Lenin ‘began to feel worse and worse.  He complained that he couldn’t sleep and that he had terrible headaches. He could not write, he did not want to work. He wrote to Alexei Maximovich Gorky, ‘I am so tired, I do not want to do anything at all.’  But he nonetheless was planning a political attack on Stalin, Dr. Lurie said.

And Stalin, well aware of Lenin’s intentions, sent a top-secret note to the Politburo in 1923 claiming that Lenin himself asked to be put out of his misery.  The note said: ‘On Saturday, March 17th in the strictest secrecy Comrade Krupskaya (Lenin’s wife) told me of ‘Vladimir Ilyich’s request to Stalin,’ namely that I, Stalin, should take the responsibility for finding and administering to Lenin a dose of potassium cyanide. I felt it impossible to refuse him, and declared: ‘I would like Vladimir Ilyich to be reassured and to believe that when it is necessary I will fulfill his demand without hesitation.’

Stalin added that he just could not do it: “I do not have the strength to carry out Ilyich’s request and I have to decline this mission, however humane and necessary it might be, and I therefore report this to the members of the Politburo.’

Dr. Lurie said Stalin might have poisoned Lenin despite this assurance, as Stalin was “absolutely ruthless.'”

According to the Soviet press, the leader suffered strokes before his death.  It was claimed that Lenin died of a stroke.  Dr. Vinn, the medical pathologist, stated that stroke was not a likely cause of death as stroke is not accompanied by seizures.  But, Dr. Vinn pointed out that many poisons can cause seizures.  According to the New York Times, “Dr. Vinters believes that sky-high cholesterol leading to a stroke was the main cause of Lenin’s death. But he said there is one other puzzling aspect of the story. Although toxicology studies were done on others in Russia, there was an order that no toxicology be done on Lenin’s tissues.” (New York Times)

Read the full article at “Lenin’s Death Remains a Mystery” .

So…does this exercise prove that Lenin was murdered?  If so, who murdered him.  Stalin is a serious suspect.  Yet, did his wife kill him per Lenin’s own request.  So many questions…looking for answers.

Whose death will be studied next?  I vote for a look at Stalin’s death.  How about Woodrow Wilson? Whose death would you like investigated?  What would history to like if those historical figures had died 20 years later?

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4 responses to “Lenin poisoned?

  1. This is so interesting. I can’t believe Lenin wanted to die. I’m curious, too, if there might have been some kind of tumor…this would explain headaches and general psychosis 🙂

  2. I doubt that Stalin was telling the truth. Lenin in the end, mistrusted Stalin and was offended by his tactics. I very much doubt that Lenin, an undying advocate of his revolution, would have wanted to die and leave his work behind.

  3. I could see Lenin having been poisoned, and even having been poisoned by Stalin, but in Soviet Russia I think this was referred to not as murder but as dying of natural causes.

    • 🙂

      Yup, there was a lot of that. Dying of suspicious causes was pretty ‘natural!’
      Thanks for the fun comment.

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