Sergei Mironovich Kirov (Russian: Серге́й Миро́нович Ки́ров; 27 March [O.S. 15 March] 1886 – 1 December 1934), born Sergei Mironovich Kostrikov, was a prominent early Bolshevik leader in the Soviet Union. Kirov rose through the Communist Party ranks to become head of the party organization in Leningrad.
On 1 December 1934, Kirov was shot and killed by a gunman at his offices in the Smolny Institute. Some historians place the blame for his assassination at the hands of Stalin and believe the NKVD organised his execution, but any evidence for this claim remains lacking. Kirov's death served as one of the pretexts for Stalin's escalation of repression against dissident elements of the Party, culminating in the Great Purge of the late 1930s in which many of the Old Bolsheviks were arrested, expelled from the party, and executed. Complicity in Kirov's assassination was a common charge to which the accused confessed in the show trials of the period.
The cities of Kirov, Kirovohrad, Kirovakan, and Kirovabad, as well as a few Kirovsks, were renamed in Kirov's honor after his assassination. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union Kirovakan and Kirovabad returned to their original names: Vanadzor and Ganja, respectively.