15 Nov 2016 5:00pm - 6:30pm SG1, CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT


A public lecture by Dr Iain Lauchlan (University of Edinburgh)


This paper investigates the fall of “Iron Felix” Dzerzhinsky. He was the creator of the Soviet secret police, Lenin’s fearsome enforcer and the man who many thought represented the last serious impediment to Stalin’s seizure of power. His death in the Kremlin in July 1926 had all the elements of a great theatrical production: timely relevance to the mood of the age, a grand location, and a stellar cast. In fact many observers found it difficult to believe that such a meaningful pattern of events could have been woven by accident alone and suspected that some hidden artist was spinning the web. This talk will explore the conspiracies and conspiracy theories surrounding Dzerzhinsky’s demise, in doing so it seeks to ascertain the true cause of his death and its significance.


Iain Lauchlan received his BA (1993) and PhD (1998) from the University of Leeds. His PhD thesis and first book (‘Russian Hide-and-Seek’)  were on the tsarist secret police based on research in the newly opened Russian state archives. He began his academic career as a research fellow at Helsinki University in 1999, which thanks to Finnish Academy funding provided him with access to the former Communist Party and KGB archives in Moscow. This led to a British Academy Post-doctoral Fellowship at St Cross College, Oxford from 2001 to 2004 and after that a lectureship at Stirling University. He was appointed to his current post as Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Edinburgh in January 2010 and Senior Lecturer in 2016. He is currently completing a biography of the founder of the KGB, Felix Dzerzhinsky.


This event is open to all and will be followed by a wine reception. 

This is part of a series of public talks from the Leverhulme-funded project Conspiracy and Democracy. More information at http://www.conspiracyanddemocracy.org/

Enquiries – skg41@cam.ac.uk

Upcoming Events


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk