Viktor Ilyin

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Viktor Ilyin
Personal details
Born Viktor Ivanovich Ilyin
(1947-12-26) December 26, 1947 (age 69)
Leningrad, RSFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Russian
Residence St. Petersburg
Known for Assassination attempt of Leonid Brezhnev
Military service
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch Soviet Armed Forces
Years of service 1968-69
Rank Second Lieutenant

Viktor Ivanovich Ilyin (Russian: Ви́ктор Ива́нович Ильи́н; born 26 December 1947) was a deserter from the Soviet Army, at the rank of second lieutenant, who attempted to assassinate the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev on the 22nd of January 1969 in Moscow.


Ilyin was born in Leningrad on the 26th December 1947, where he lived with his stepmother and step grandmother. He was drafted into the army after graduating from the topographic college in 1968. He was distressed by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968,[1] and had questioned local ideology officials about the Prague Spring.[2] He had learned about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and had reportedly admired Lee Harvey Oswald.[2] Ilyin had learned that he had lived his life with his foster parents, while his biological parents were alcoholics, where he then decided to attempt an assassination of Brezhnev. When Ilyin was on duty, he stole two Makarov guns and four clips from his army unit's safe and went to Moscow. Ilyin spent a day with his uncle, a Soviet police worker, and stole his uniform before going to Red Square.[2] He went to the Kremlin, and looked for the best firing position, choosing a place a few metres from the entrance gate.[2] When the motorcade entered the gates of Borovitskaya Tower, carrying cosmonauts and top Soviet leaders, Ilyin fired at the second vehicle with his pistols which were occupied by the cosmonauts Georgy Beregovoy, Alexey Leonov, Andrian Nikolaev and Valentina Tereshkova. A bullet killed the limousine driver Ilya Zharkov who was driving as a substitute on his last day before retirement. Beregovoy was wounded, [3] and Vasiliy Zatsipilin, who was part of the motorcycle escort, was also hit but was able to aim his motorcycle at Ilyin, bringing him down.[4] The guards were able to take control, as Ilyin suffered from a seizure. Yuri Andropov, head of the KGB, questioned Ilyin where he confessed that he was planning to take over Brezhnev, while forming a non-communist party. He was facing the death penalty, but after an investigation, he was considered insane and was placed in a mental hospital in solitary confinement for 20 years. In 1990, he was set free, following a Supreme Court ruling. In 2009, he told RT that he regrets the death of an innocent man, where he was living in a government-provided apartment in Saint Petersburg.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zubok, Vladislav M. (2009). Zhivago's Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. p. 297. ISBN 0-674-03344-2. 
  2. ^ a b c d e | RT | The man who tried to kill Brezhnev" | 22 Jan, 2009 |
  3. ^ "Gunman Attacks Car in Kremlin, 2 Wounded". The New York Times. 24 January 1969. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  4. ^ The Morning Herald |