The Rise and Fall of a Crimean Party Boss: Nikolai Vasil’evich Solov’ev and the Leningrad Affair
This essay focuses on the career of N. V. Solov’ev, a prominent Stalin-era official and little-known victim of the
1949 Leningrad Affair. When treated as a case study, Solov’ev’s life and times illustrate a variety of important
things about Stalinism as a whole. Most obviously, Solov’ev’s rapid ascent into the party nomenklatura during
the interwar years exemplifies the dramatic trajectory that many in party service enjoyed during this period.
Once in office, Solov’ev promptly embraced the Stalinist political culture that had promoted him there, at
times even emulating the general secretary himself. Finally, Solov’ev’s postwar disgrace and ruin reveal
much about the broader functioning of this political system, particularly in regard to Joseph Stalin’s
concerns about the USSR’s emergent party elite.