The assassination of Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronshtein) was born on November 7th, 1879. He was a Marxist theorist and agitator who helped to wave the Russian revolution of 1917 Vladimir Lenin, and became the leader of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (bolsheviks).
After the revolution, he served as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, and later as People’s Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs. He was a founder of Red Army. In 1920s he entered in struggle against the rise to power of Joseph Stalin. He gradually lost the political influence, expelled from the Communist Party, and exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929.
After the years in Turkey, France and Norway, Trotsky arrived in Mexico in 1937, where he and his supporters founded the Fourth International in 1938, which was intended to be a revolutionary and internationalist alternative to the Stalinist Comintern. His enemies in Soviet Union took some attempts to kill him in exile. Most noticed one took place in May 1940 by armed assassins led by the NKVD agent Iosif Grigulevich and Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros. Trotsky has survived the attack.
On 20 August 1940, he was attacked by Ramon Mercader, a Spanish communist who had the trust in the Trotsky family. Mercader used mountaineering ice-axe, with which he struck Leon Trotsky and fractured his skull. Leon Trotsky didn’t died immediately, was taken to hospital, where he was operated on. He died a day later, at the age of 60.
Mercader was turned over by Trotsky’s guards to the Mexican authorities. He refused to present his real identity. In 1940, Ramón Mercader was convicted of a murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was released on 6 May 1960. In 1961, Mercader moved to the Soviet Union and was awarded with Hero of the Soviet Union decoration. Ramon Mercader died in Havana in 1978. He is buried under the name “Ramon Ivanovich Lopez” in Moscow’s Kuntsevo Cemetery.