Esteban Volkov Bronstein, grandson and guardian of the reminiscence of Leon Trotsky, died this Saturday evening in Mexico Metropolis, the final refuge of his grandfather in exile and the place he was ordered to be introduced as a baby in 1939. A decade earlier, Josef Stalin had sworn to erase from the earth your complete lineage of the one who had been one of many architects of the Russian revolution and head of the Purple Military. A survivor of the Stalinist terror, the boy Volkov was a direct witness to the homicide of his grandfather, one of many milestones within the political historical past of the twentieth century. It was in that home with colonial airs the place he used to play with the household’s Russian greyhounds and that a long time later he would find yourself turning right into a museum to honor the reminiscence of his grandfather, who tragically marked his total household.
Born in Yalta, Ukraine, in 1926, his unique title was Vsevolod. On the age of 5 he left Moscow together with his mom for the Turkish island of Prinkipo, Trotsky’s first refuge. “We lived in our grandfather’s home on the Princes’ Islands, within the Sea of Marmara”, he used to recollect from these very early days. In 1932 mom and son moved to Berlin, the place the Nazi celebration was already starting its rise to energy. A number of weeks later she, sick with tuberculosis, takes her personal life, leaving the fuel within the kitchen open. He spent a 12 months and a half in a boarding college in Vienna run by disciples of Sigmund Freud and in 1934 he was despatched to Paris together with his uncle Leon Sedov, Trotsky’s right-hand man, who would die delirious in a Paris clinic, supposedly poisoned, barely 5 years later. . His father and his great-uncles would additionally find yourself shot.
After Leon’s grotesque loss of life, Trotsky orders that he be despatched to Mexico with him and so they title him Esteban. Or Sieva, as he affectionately known as his grandfather. Barely a 12 months later, on Tuesday August 20, 1940, he arrives in homicide. In an interview with this newspaper, Volkov recalled the small print of the occasion in 2015. It was midday and when Esteban got here dwelling from college, just a few minutes had handed after his grandfather had acquired a murderous ice ax from Ramon Mercader, the Stalinist agent who had infiltrated Trotsky’s closest circle for months. “When he heard my footsteps, he advised the guards:“ Maintain Sieva away. He should not see this scene, ”he recalled. In a nook of the backyard, two policemen have been holding the murderer despatched by Moscow. “I didn’t acknowledge him on the time,” he says. “He had a bloody face and was making unusual squeals and howls.”
Till the Nineteen Seventies, Volkok lived in that very home, the place he raised his 4 daughters. And in 1990 she determined to show the home right into a museum. A fixture in all the town’s vacationer guides, Volkok’s drive and dedication additionally made it a gathering level for figures and intellectuals linked to her grandfather. Just like the Cuban author Leonardo Padura, creator of The person who liked canine, top-of-the-line fictional approaches to the universe of Trotsky and his assassin. Padura returned to the scene of the crime in 2017. Within the patio of the home, filled with individuals, the Cuban author, accompanied by Volkov, defined the small print of his nice novel primarily based on a real story the place, as a good friend advised him, “everybody they lie”.
Trotsky’s grandson has been the executor of his reminiscence greater than of his doctrine. “I’ve at all times been away from politics. My function has been to bear witness to what I skilled. The fierce persecution that my household suffered, the avalanche of lies and monstrous falsehoods”. Trotsky didn’t need to contain him in his affairs both. In truth, he would reprimand his guards in the event that they did so: “Don’t discuss politics with my grandson,” he ordered.
In Mexico the younger Esteban studied chemistry and within the fifties he was a part of the Mexican laboratory that synthesized for the primary time in historical past the essential aspect of the contraceptive capsule. Then he arrange a small waste recycling plant on his personal. Her spouse, Palmira Fernandez from Madrid, was a housewife with a previous worthy of her husband’s. Her household had been divided between the nationwide and republican sides after the Civil Struggle and she or he labored for a number of years as head of Balenciaga’s workshop till she left every part and went to Mexico to hitch her brothers, exiled from the shedding aspect. .
In the lounge of the home the place he lived for the previous few years, there was a portray. It’s a nightmarish illustration of the ultimate second of his grandfather, who seems huddled within the arms of his accomplice, Natalia Sedova, horrified by loss of life. Volkov didn’t prefer it, as he additionally advised this newspaper. He complained that he was not reliable as a result of Trotsky remained on his toes after the coup, “with damaged glasses and a bloody head, pointing to Mornard,” he stated, utilizing the assumed title of Mercader as if he didn’t deserve certainly one of his personal. To appropriate the historic inaccuracy, Trotsky’s grandson had lined his grandfather’s horrified expression with a bit of masking tape.