Sound familiar?

The killer of Trotsky, Ramon Mercader, refused to admit that he had been hired by Stalin to commit the murder:

Even after his identity had been established fingerprints, he refused to admit who he was or why he had come to commit the murder. The official Stalinist version was that he was a disgruntled Trotskyite, and that the NKVD had nothing to do with it. (Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment, p. 418.)

It’s less well-known these days that the NKVD had made a botched attempt on Trotsky’s life a few months earlier. A Mexican social realist painter called David Alfaro Siqueiros

and two accomplices collected a number of sub-machine guns, police and Army uniforms, and some ladders and incendiary bombs, together with a rotary power saw. He dressed himelf as a major in the Mexican Army and put on a disguise. At about 2:00 A.M., he assembled the twenty men he had chosen, and they drove in four cars to Trotsky’s fortified villa. Some of the police had already been lured away; the others were trussed up at gunpoint. The telephone wires were cut, and the sentry on duty, an American called Harte, was rushed and overwhelmed. The force broke into the patio and swept the bedrooms with tommy guns for several minutes. They then pulled out, leaving several incendiaries and a large dynamite bomb. The latter failed to explode. Trotsky was slightly wounded in the right leg; his ten-year-old grandson was also hit. His wife received some burns from the incendiaries, Otherwise, the attack was a failure. (Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment, p. 416.)


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