Political map of Russia & the former Soviet Union 21 January 1924 (Death of Lenin): Following a number of strokes and possibly still weakened from a 1918 assassination attempt (Fanya Kaplan), Lenin (Vladimir Lenin) died a year after the founding of the Soviet Union. He was succeeded by a troika made up of Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev and Joseph Stalin, a man he distrusted and had privately denounced (Lenin's Testament).