The Trotsky Conundrum

187994180 Dmitry Babich and Peter Taaffe discuss Trotsky in The Moscow News. Babich:

Leon Trotsky is a unique figure in recent Russian history who is despised by all of Russia’s major political currents.

Gennady Zyuganov’s communists hate him because he was made into Bolshevism’s anti-Pope during most of the Soviet period. Russian liberals hate him because he had no respect for private property and for human lives, which he destroyed in the millions during his tenure at the top of Soviet power in 1917-24.

The “party of power” hates him because he was a revolutionary and every revolution is an anathema to United Russia. Nationalists hate him because he had no love or pity for Russia, viewing it merely as “fuel for world revolution” – and not the best, for that matter.

Unlike Nikolai Bukharin and other Bolshevist leaders, Trotsky never had his “moment of glory” in post-Stalinist Russia. Despite his books being published and his family’s tragic fate enjoying some sympathy (Trotsky survived all his four children and only one grandson out of five escaped Stalin’s epic ire), this country’s public opinion did not rehabilitate his ideas. It can be said that Russia once and forever rejected Trotskyism, firing at it on all cylinders.

Trotsky, however, returns the fire. Not via tiny groups of his followers in Russia, which are usually reduced to the third roles in the already not-too-strong anti-Putin protest movement. Just as he did during most of his life, Trotsky – even after his death – is damaging Russia from abroad.

“Western publications headed by former or acting Trotskyites tend to be post-Soviet Russia’s most acerbic critics,” explains Yury Rubinsky, the head of the department for French studies at the Moscow-based Institute of Europe. “To these people, Russia is not just a traitor, but a double and triple traitor.”