Trotsky, Leon

Trotsky, Leon

biographical name


Leon Trotsky.—H. Roger-Viollet

(born Nov. 7, 1879, Yanovka, Ukraine, Russian Empire—died Aug. 21, 1940, Coyoacán, near Mexico City, Mex.) Russian communist leader. Born to Russian Jewish farmers, he joined an underground socialist group and was exiled to Siberia in 1898 for his revolutionary activities. He escaped in 1902 with a forged passport using the name Trotsky. He fled to London, where he met Vladimir Lenin. In 1903, when the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party split, Trotsky became a Menshevik, allying himself with Lenin's opponents. He returned to St. Petersburg to help lead the Russian Revolution of 1905. Arrested and again exiled to Siberia, he wrote Results and Prospects, setting forth his theory of “permanent revolution.” He escaped to Vienna in 1907, worked as a journalist in the Balkan Wars (1912–13), and moved around Europe and the U.S. until the Russian Revolution of 1917 brought him back to St. Petersburg (then Petrograd), where he became a Bolshevik and was elected leader of the workers' soviet. He played a major role in the overthrow of the provisional government and the establishment of Lenin's communist regime. As commissar of war (1918–24), Trotsky rebuilt and brilliantly commanded the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. Although favoured by Lenin to succeed him, Trotsky lost support after Lenin's death (1924) and was forced out of power by Joseph Stalin. After a campaign of denunciation, he was expelled from the Politburo (1926) and Central Committee (1927), then banished from Russia (1929). He lived in Turkey and France, where he wrote his memoirs and a history of the revolution. Under Soviet pressure, he was forced to move around Europe and eventually found asylum in 1936 in Mexico, where, falsely accused in the purge trials as the chief conspirator against Stalin, he was murdered in 1940 by a Spanish communist.

Variants of TROTSKY, LEON

Trotsky, Leon orig. Lev Davidovich Bronshtein

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