This page-turning biography follows the footsteps of a forgotten legend of the Russian Revolution.
Yakov Blumkin claimed to have had nine lives. He was a terrorist, the assassin of the German ambassador Wilhelm von Mirbach, a poet close to the avant-garde, a member of Cheka, a military strategist, a secret agent, and Leon Trotsky’s secretary. Executed in 1929 on the orders of Stalin at the age of twenty-nine, he has continued to inspire a powerful curiosity: Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian Internet users have been adopting “Blumkin” as a pseudonym, and wild rumors and falsehoods about his extraordinary life abound today.
With a trove of manuscripts, documents, rare photographs, and personal souvenirs, writer and researcher Christian Salmon sets out to reconstruct the shadowy past of this multifaceted figure.