Fanya Kaplan, a member of the Socialist Revolutionary party in Russia who attempted to assassinate Vladimir Ilyich Lenin on August 30, 1918, was born in the Ukraine on this date in 1890. Kaplan spent eleven years of her short life imprisoned in Siberian labor camps because of her revolutionary activity. Released after the Kerensky revolution in 1917, she supported the Bolshevik Revolution but became disillusioned when her own party, after winning a majority in the Constituent Assembly, was banned by the Bolsheviks and saw the Assembly dissolved. Kaplan put two bullets into Lenin and greatly weakened him for the remainder of his life, which ended in 1924. She was executed four days after the assassination attempt, and the Bolsheviks decreed “a merciless mass terror against all the enemies of the revolution,” which led to the execution of some 800 members of Kaplan’s revolutionary party and hundreds of other opponents of the Bolsheviks over the next few months. Fanya Kaplan was also known as Feige, Fanni, and Dora.
“My name is Fanya Kaplan. Today I shot at Lenin. I did it on my own. I will not say from whom I obtained my revolver. I will give no details. I had resolved to kill Lenin long ago. I consider him a traitor to the Revolution. I was exiled to Akatui for participating in an assassination attempt against a Tsarist official in Kyiv. I spent 11 years at hard labour. After the Revolution, I was freed. I favored the Constituent Assembly and am still for it.” —Fanya Kaplan