The assassination of Trotsky: 80 years later

The moment Trotsky got killed (“The Assassination of Leon Trotsky”)

The assassination of Trotsky: 80 years later

There is a museum in the house where the revolutionary spent the last years of his life.

The walls of the house in Mexico, where the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was brutally murdered 80 years ago, still show traces of bullets, recalling the previous unsuccessful attempt on his life..

“I am already familiar with death,” Trotsky said after the attack at his home in the suburbs of Mexico City, where he spent the last years of his life..

“Stalin’s black hatred haunts me halfway across the world,” he told a Mexican newspaper.

A few months later, on August 20, 1940, this chain of persecution ended when Trotsky was killed with an ice pick. The killer acted on the orders of Joseph Stalin.

“It was an ideological, symbolic crime,” Cuban writer Leonardo Padura, who spent several years researching the circumstances of the murder for his novel The Man Who Loved Dogs, told AFP..

Trotsky’s house in the green area of ​​Mexico City, Coyoacan, has been preserved as a museum. On the territory of the complex there is a grave of a revolutionary with a monument on which a sickle and a hammer are carved.

Watchtowers, high walls and bullet marks left by Stalin’s killers give an idea of ​​how one of the key figures of the Bolshevik revolution spent his last days.

After a quarrel with Stalin in the 1920s, Trotsky was forced to flee into exile.

The Marxist revolutionary fled from Turkey to Norway, then to France, and in 1937 landed in Mexico, where the muralist artist Diego Rivera helped convince the government of General Lazaro Cardenas to grant him asylum.

Surprisingly, Trotsky and Cardenas never met, although they corresponded.

“Perhaps this was due to the circumstances of the moment, since there was no need to meet,” the general’s son, the famous Mexican politician Cuautemoc Cardenas, told AFP..

But even on another continent, the revolutionary was not protected from the Stalinist regime..

Trotsky and his wife survived the first assassination attempt on May 24, 1940 by throwing themselves under the bed.

Their grandson, who was sleeping in the next room, was wounded in the leg..

The incident prompted Trotsky to step up security at his home, but they weren’t enough to stop his killer, Ramon Mercader..

Spanish communist and secret agent of the Soviet special services, Mercader managed to infiltrate Trotsky’s inner circle.

After Trotsky installed new metal gates at the entrance to his house, which were controlled by guards, Mercader gave up the idea of ​​using firearms..

Instead, a seasoned climber settled on an ice ax to maximize his chances of hiding from the scene..

With a spare pistol and a knife under his coat, he entered the territory of the house and plunged an ice ax into Trotsky’s skull.

Seriously wounded Trotsky called for help, and Mercader was captured.

The revolutionary died in a local hospital the next day.

The murder weapon disappeared later that year, but resurfaced decades later when a police officer’s daughter put it up for sale, claiming that she had kept it under her bed for many years..

It was bought by Keith Melton, an espionage history writer, and is now on display at the International Espionage Museum in Washington..

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