Gunman Reportedly Wanted to Kill Gorbachev
The man who fired shots during the Revolution Day parade on Red Square last week was attempting to assassinate Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, but a police sergeant overpowered him, forcing the shots into the air, Soviet newspapers reported Thursday.
A KGB investigator working on the case said the gunman had prepared for more than two years to kill Gorbachev by practicing his marksmanship in the woods and had chosen his gun carefully, according to an interview in Glasnost due to hit the newsstands today.
The investigator, Pyotr A. Sokolov, told the Communist Party weekly the imported gun was purchased for 900 rubles, about $1,620 at the artificially inflated official rate.
“I wanted to kill Gorbachev,” the gunman, Alexander A. Shmonov, said after he was apprehended, according to a report in the liberal tabloid Moscow News. Shmonov’s confession was reportedly related to the newspaper by Sgt. Andrei Mylnikov, who was said to have foiled the assassination attempt.
The latest accounts shed a dramatically different light on the Nov. 7 incident. Earlier official reports had said the gunman stood about 100 yards from Gorbachev and fired a sawed-off shotgun, which would not be likely conditions for a successful assassination. Mylnikov, however, said the weapon had been a hunting rifle, with which a marksman could make an accurate shot.
Also contradicting previous reports, Sokolov told Glasnost that the shooting occurred about 50 yards from the Lenin Mausoleum, where Gorbachev was standing at the time.
Glasnost said that a note was found on Shmonov that “explicitly set out his criminal intentions” toward Gorbachev. The gunman wrote the note in case he was killed, Sokolov said.
Shmonov, a machinist who joined a radical party, was charged with attempted terrorism.