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Trotsky 1929-1940 - The Prophet Outcast

In 1928 Trotsky and his principal followers were exiled to remote parts of the Soviet Union. A year later he was banished from the USSR altogether. Trotsky was initially received by Turkey where he completed his autobiography and his history of the Russian Revolution. In 1933 he moved to France, then to Norway and finally sought asylum in Mexico, where he settled at Coyoacn.

At one point he lived at the home of the painter Diego Rivera (who depicted him in several of his works) and had an affair with Riveras wife and fellow painter, Frida Kahlo. Meanwhile back in the Soviet Union he was represented as the principal conspirator, in absentia, in the show trials of former Communist opposition leaders held in Moscow in 1936-38.

Trotsky became the object of two assassination attempts by Stalinist agents; the first, a machine-gun attack on his house, failed, the second, by Ramn Mercader, a Spanish Communist who had won the confidence of the Trotsky household, was successful. Trotsky was assassinated on 20 August 1940 at his refuge in Mexico, presumably by Stalinists. The fatal attack was by "Frank Jacson" - reputedly a financially generous sympathizer. Visiting as the fianc of comrade Sylvia Agelof, he gained Trotsky's confidence. No one ever questionedhis loyalty, so that there never was the slightest suspicion that hecould be an NKVD agent.

The details of how the blow with the mountaineering pick was struck and of the short struggle that followed, as described by various writers, are mostly conjectures, although probably correct. Trotsky was severely injured by an ice pick and died in hospital at the age of 60. For five days his body lay in state. Some 300,000 people filed past the coffin while in the USSR the news was only briefly mentioned.

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Page last modified: 30-01-2016 19:10:06 ZULU