The new project by the GULAG Museum is dedicated to the life of the famous revolutionary, politician, and political writer Leon Trotsky. The exhibition will feature more than 170 photographs from the collection of David King, a photographer and collector, author of well-known albums on the USSR history, including several illustrated biographies of Trotsky. “Trotsky. The Commissar Returns” will become a follow-up of the earlier project by the GULAG Museum “The Commissar Vanishes” on the retouching of political personae non grata (mostly shot, deported, or sent to forced labour camps) in Soviet official publications, and Trotsky was the first and foremost of them. The exhibition calls for public record of the return of this significant figure to the visual history of the Soviet era, the memory of which is often retouched, like some old photos...


Leon Trotsky was one of the most prominent, controversial, and, without doubt, the most charismatic figures in Russian history of modern times. He was a politician with a thought of changing the world on a global scale. He was an intellectual and esthete, author of an extremely lively and succinct prose displaying a number of key historical moments. This was a man who went the way of a rebel, a triumphant, a fugitive, and, finally, a victim of a planted assassin. He was called a prophet and Mephistopheles. People gave him the oath of loyalty and confessed their selfless love to him; others felt simmering hatred for years.

Trotsky's life with experience of two revolutions, a war, several exiles, escapes, persecution, happy family life, and family tragedy, is told in photographic detail from his birth in Yanovka settlement, Kherson Guberniya up to his death in a family house in his citadel-like mansion in the suburb of Mexico City. The fate of this man is so closely and dramatically intertwined with the history of Russia in the first half of the XX century, that while talking about him one cannot but bring up topics that exceed the scope of a biography. All global events of that time are individually refracted in the context of his life story. The very phenomenon of such intertwinement of global and personal is the focus of the exhibition. The history of the Russian Revolution will appear here primarily as a story of its creators, in all its complexity and showing intractable contradictions of human opinions and actions.



Exhibition Program:


17.05.13 19.00

Opening party


18.05.13 23.00

DECADENCE. TWINS Piano Duo (Igor Sviridov, Maksim Pashchenko). Audiovisual performance. 


21.05.13 19.00

An Ice-Axe for Trotsky. Chronicle of a revenge. Film show and discussion with the author Irina Chernova.


22.05.13 19.00

S.M. Soloviov. "Leon Trotsky: Why a Prophet?" Lecture and discussion.


The entrance is free



The exhibition is prepared by:


Collection and idea  — David King

Curating — Irina Galkova

Texts — David King,  Irina Galkova, Lyudmila Sadovnikova, Mayvand Kasim

Design — Anna Redkina, Anna Lia, Innokenty Sharkov

Documentary reel montage – Lyudmila Sadovnikova

Website— Boris Chesnov