“Nero, too, was a product of his epoch. Yet after he perished
his statues were smashed and his name was scraped off everything.
The vengeance of history is more terrible than the
vengeance of the most powerful General Secretary. I venture
to think that this is consoling.”
(From Leon Trotsky’s Stalin)
Ours is an epoch of unique historical events, most of them horrible. The Great Purge of 1936-8, with its liquidation of the old Bolshevik elite ordered in cold blood two decades after the revolution, and covered by a slimy flood of lies and forgeries was one of those events which revealed to a whole generation new vistas of man’s capacity for evil. Despite the above comparison with the tyrant of another age, quoted from the book over whose unfinished manuscript Trotsky was battered to death by Stalin’s emissary, the present massive denunciation of the initiator of those crimes and the “scraping off” of his falsifications from the record is no less unique; for this destruction of a myth is carried out by Stalin’s closest surviving accomplices, within a system of one-pa...
For just $19.95 a year, get access to new issues and decades' worth of archives on our site.
Print + Online
For $35 a year, get new issues delivered to your door and access to our full online archives.