Introduction by Peter Katel
Kremlin-ordered murders of dissidents abroad began nearly a century ago.
One telling episode took place in Paris one year before World War II. It deserves to be better known.
On Feb. 16, 1938, Leon Sedov, eldest son of Leon Trotsky and Natalia Sedova, died mysteriously in Paris after an appendicitis operation. He had been poisoned, though that did not become clear until decades later.
Alongside his father, Sedov fought Stalin’s transformation of the USSR and the global Communist movement into a totalitarian machine. Under constant surveillance by his key assistant, later revealed as a Soviet spy, Sedov was a key target of Stalin’s campaign to “liquidate” anti-Stalinists around the world, like their comrades in the USSR.
Two years before he was killed, Sedov had written the first detailed denunciation of the Moscow purge trials. These were a Kremlin spectacle designed around the lie that Trotsky and other veteran revolutionaries were terrorist allies of Hitler.
The late French historian Pierre Broué (1926-2005), Sedov’s only biographer, made the case for Sedov’s historical importance.