Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 45

Leon Trotsky - Before the 1917 Revolution, After the Russian Revolution, Last exile (1929-1940)

soviet joined death mercader

Russian Jewish revolutionary, born in Yanovka, S Ukraine. He studied at Odessa, and in 1898 was arrested as a Marxist and exiled to Siberia. He escaped in 1902, joined Lenin in London, and in the abortive 1905 revolution was president of the St Petersburg Soviet. He then worked as a revolutionary journalist in the West, returning to Russia in 1917, when he joined the Bolsheviks and played a major role in the October Revolution. In the Civil War he was commissar for war, and created the Red Army. After Lenin's death (1924) his influence began to decline. He was ousted from the party by Stalin, who opposed his theory of ‘permanent revolution’, exiled to C Asia (1927), and expelled from the Soviet Union (1929). He continued to agitate as an exile, and was sentenced to death in his absence by a Soviet court in 1937. He finally found asylum in Mexico, but was assassinated by Ramón Mercader, a Spanish Communist. The Soviet government denied any responsibility and Mercader was convicted and imprisoned.

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