The communist movement is dead and gone in Russia as it collapsed under the weight of its own contradictions. In 1917 Lenin led a  revolution against Czar Nicholas II and overthrew him. Lenin established a 'dictatorship of the proletariat'', but in reality it was a one party state where the opponents were simply executed or carted away to concentration camps located deep in Siberia.

Lenin had two important lieutenants in the shape of Leon Trotsky and Josef Stalin. Trotsky was the greater intellectual who had the ear of Lenin. He was the man who coined the words ' enemies of the state' . He also has the dubious distinction in setting up concentration camps for all who opposed the communist regime. Unfortunately for Trotsky, Lenin was incapacitated by a stroke and died in 1924.  With Lenin not able to assert himself, Josef Stalin became the most important figure in Russia after his death. This was the start of the Trotsky-Stalin feud.

Stalin called for a meeting of the central committee and stripped Trotsky of all his powers. His supporters deserted him and Trotsky was forced to go into exile. He left for Turkey and then to other countries in Europe before settling down in Mexico. Many of his supporters who had sided with  Stalin against Trotsky were not spared  and men like Bukharin and Rakovsky were executed after the famous purges and trials of 1936-37.

Trotsky for all his faults was a formidable intellectual figure whose writing still commanded a place in the communist movement. He wrote extensively against Stalin  and advocated his overthrow. He brought out that Stalin had betrayed the ideals of Lenin and this struck a chord with many in the communist movement.

The writings of Trotsky irked Stalin and he devised a devilish plan to get him assassinated in Mexico. He handed over the task to the NKVD the Russian secret police..The NKVD scouted around and settled for a committed Spanish communist man named Ramon Mercador. Ramon was called to Moscow and given the task of murdering Trotsky. All this now looks unbelievable, but at that time Stalin thought he was doing the right thing to save communism.

Ramon left for Mexico and once there he befriended Trotsky who would often call him to his study and read out his passages to him. Ramon bided his time and one fine day attacked Trotsky with a pick-axe in 1940. Trotsky was taken to hospital but died after 2 days. Ramon was sentenced to 20 years in jail. The story  took a fresh turn as after Ramon completed his imprisonment, he was welcomed in Moscow in 1960, where he died later. He was awarded the 'hero of the Soviet Union' medal.

The feud between Trotsky and Stalin is now part of history and not having that much importance as communism itself has collapsed. But one can remember that perhaps if Trotsky had the chance he would have got Stalin killed. it was almost like dog eats dog and now makes fascinating reading.


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