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    Yakov Okhotnikov

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    1897 – March 8, 1937

    On November 7, 1927, the Soviet Union was celebrating the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution. (Yes, the October Revolution took place in November. Russia has forever been behind the rest of the world.) Joseph Stalin, in his mustached glory, was standing atop of the Lenin Mausoleum, surveying the worshiping crowd.

    This is when Yakov Okhotnikov ran up to Stalin and punched him in the back of the head.

    That's right. This really happened. The most powerful man in the world got smacked in front of thousands.

    Okhotnikov, who was 30 at the time, was a Red Army officer, who served under previously-profiled general Iona Yakir. (Like Yakir, Okhotnikov was Jewish.) He was a disciple of Trotsky and did not like the direction Stalin was taking the country. So he and two friends made their way to the Mausoleum, and the rest is history. Well, it would be history if the Soviets-cum-Russians would ever mention the event. They don't.

    So what happened to Okhotnikov? Surprisingly, initially, not much. Back in 1927, Stalin was not yet as all powerful as he would later become. The Trotskyist opposition was not yet defeated. So Okhotnikov was left alone... for five years, when he was arrested and sent to Siberia. Five years after that, he was shot by the firing squad.

    Still, a rare occasion of standing up to the Russian dictator. If only someone would do that against Putin...

    Verdict: Jew.

    September 19, 2022

    See Also

    Isaak Babel

    Grigory Peretz

    Joseph Stalin

    Leon Trotsky

    Iona Yakir
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