Adopted name of Lev Davidovitch Bronstein (18
Russian revolutionary. He joined the Bolshevik party and took a leading part in the seizure of power 1917 and raising the Red Army that fought the Civil War 1918–20. In the struggle for power that followed Lenin's death 1924, Stalin defeated Trotsky, and this and other differences with the Communist Party led to his exile 1929. He settled in Mexico, where he was assassinated at Stalin's instigation. Trotsky believed in world revolution and in permanent revolution (see Trotskyism), and was an uncompromising, if liberal, idealist.
Trotsky became a Marxist in the 1890s and was imprisoned and exiled for opposition to the tsarist regime. He lived in W Europe from 1902 until the 1905 revolution, when he was again imprisoned but escaped to live in exile until 1917, when he returned to Russia and joined the Bolsheviks. Although as a young man Trotsky admired Lenin, when he worked with him organizing the revolution of 1917, he objected to Lenin's dictatorial ways. He was second in command until Lenin's death, and was minister for foreign affairs 1917–18 and minister for war 1918–Jan 1925. In exile in Mexico, he was killed with an ice pick. Official Soviet recognition of responsibility for his assassination through the secret service came in 1989.
Trotsky’s later works are critical of the Soviet regime; for example, The Revolution Betrayed 1937. His greatest work is his magisterial History of the Russian Revolution 1932–33.