Few prime ministers in history were more hated than Peter Strolypin, premier of Russia in the Tsarist years between 1906 and 1911. In 1906 he set up summary court-martials to try his opponents and had them executed within 24 hours. Between July of that year and March of the following year, his courts tried and hanged nearly 1,000 people.

The Tsar, Nicholas II, also disliked Strolypin – not because of his brutality but because he considered him too liberal.

On September 1st, 1911, Strolypin’s period of tyranny was brought to an abrupt end when Dmitry Bogrov, 24, stood up in the Kiev opera house in the Ukraine and, in front of the Tsar who was also in the audience, shot the premier. Four days later Strolypin died in hospital.

Bogrov’s role in the killing has never been completely clear. It was supposed to be the act of a revolutionary to spur on an uprising of the people. But if Bogrov was a revolutionary he was also a double agent – an agent of the Tsarist secret police, the Okhrana, which he kept informed of the activities of revolutionaries and liberals. There were theories that he committed the murder because he was suspected of being a police spy by the revolutionaries, and that the Okhrana allowed it to happen to maintain his cover.

If that were so, his friends in high places failed to intervene to prevent his trial by a district military court on September 9th. He was sentenced to death and hanged three days later, on Tuesday, September 12th, 1911, in Lysa Hora military prison in Kiev.