July 01, 2015

Trotsky's End

Seventy five years ago this August, Leon Trotsky, a pivotal leader of the Bolshevik Revolution, was murdered in Mexican exile. The site of his murder is now a museum and shrine, of sorts.

On a cool spring night in May 1940, a band of Stalinists entered Leon Trotsky’s home in Mexico City and blasted his bedroom with machine gun fire. Trotsky’s wife, Natalia Sedova, threw herself on top of her husband to shield him from the bullets. In the next room, Trotsky’s grandson, Sieva Volkov, pushed his bed away from the wall and hid behind it to protect himself. A bullet hit Sieva in the foot, but all three members of the Trotsky family survived. After the attack, Trotsky wrote that his most anguished memory from that night was hearing Sieva’s tearful cries as the bullets rattled the building.

The failed attempt on Trotsky’s life occurred in Coyoacán, a colonial village just outside Mexico City, where the cobbled streets are lined with jacaranda trees that explode with purple blossoms during the first days of spring.

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