Tea With Trotsky

Letter From London

A few months ago, when word of an article of mine about the events of September 11 went round the Russian community in London, I received a telephone call inviting me to a private meeting with Boris Berezovsky.  (A relevant question to ponder is whether those Westerners who are unfamiliar with the name have somehow missed out, since it may well be argued that many people who quietly went about their business in the 1930’s without bothering to ask who Trotsky was, and why he was ever so cross with Stalin, were emotionally better prepared for the paradox of an approaching world war that would align the West with Soviet Russia.  To the writer, to the historian, and to every other species of freethinking pest that troubles our society, however, the perfect emotional equilibrium of a man shoved into the cattle car that bears him to an unspecified destination has not always been the consummate ideal.  This worrisome, often lonely, unshaven or bespectacled human-type wants to ferret out the very worst of what there is to learn of his epoch, and what I write here is addressed to him.)

At home, Berezovsky is vilified as an “oligarch” by the secret-police junta that has borne President Vladimir Putin, which means that the label is intentionally misleading and can be discarded.  I have previously written in this space that setting up these bigwigs was an early initiative of that selfsame junta,...

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