Committee for the Study of Trotsky & his Legacy

Here two prominent writers and scholars on Trotsky describe the work of the international committee recently established to promote the study of Trotsky. There has been some confusion about the actual title of the committee, the consitution of which was drafted in Russian, with different participants producing their own translations. There is however only one such committee. Revolutionary History strongly supports their work, and we intend to make available as much of their documentation as we receive.

Committee for the Study of Trotsky & his Legacy

On behalf of the provisional UK committee

Hillel Ticktin,
Institute for Soviet & East European Studies,
University of Glasgow,
28 Bute Gardens,
G12 8QQ,
Scotland, U.K.

Terry Brotherstone
University of Aberdeen
Department of History,
Kings College,
Old Aberdeen,
AB24 3FX,
Scotland, U.K.

December 1996

Dear friend,


We write about an important development involving scholars, students and other young people, in the former Soviet Union, which we hope you will want to support.

In 1994 a conference was held in the Institute of Economics at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow on Leon Trotsky and his political and theoretical work: it was decided to establish a Committee for the Study of Trotsky and his Legacy (CSTL) with Professor Pierre Broué (editor of Cahiers Lé on Trotsky and author of Trotsky) as its Honorary President. We are appealing for funds to help with this committee’s work. A major object agreed in 1994 was to assist in the publication in Russian of writings by Trotsky which are still unavailable.

The 1994 conference was followed, in December 1995 at St. Petersburg University, by a symposium on the 90th anniversary of the 1905 soviet. During 1995 also, Professor Mikhail Voeykov, the main organiser of the 1994 conference, and Dr Alexei Gusev of Moscow State University, delivered papers on Trotsky and his legacy at an international seminar on Revolutions, held at the Centre for Russian, East and Central European Studies at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

Both the Russian conferences were attended by a range of scholars, students and young people from outside the academic world. A serious discussion was begun about the historical interpretation of Trotsky’s life and work, and the lessons which might be drawn therefrom. A third Russian conference – this time on Trotsky’s Revolution Betrayed Sixty Years On – took place in Moscow from November 22nd to 24th, 1996. A report will be available early in 1997.

CSTL supporters in the USA have already raised substantial sums towards the committee’s work. It has thereby been possible to publish the proceedings of the 1994 conference in Russian (now available). Supporters in the UK also raised funds to assist in the visit of Professor Voeykov and Dr Gusev to Scotland.

It has also recently come to our attention that the Trotsky House in Coyoacan, Mexico – which operates as a museum, and with which Esteban Volkov (‘Seva’) is still associated – is much in need of funds. We have written to Esteban requesting further information, with the intention of proposing to CSTL that fund-raising to help the museum should be amongst its activities.

We feel it is important that the CSTL is established on the most international basis possible for two reasons. First, to maximise the possibility of raising money and of involving the greatest possible number of people in the intellectual work of the committee. Second, to ensure that the committee can contribute to the essentially international task of developing the study of Trotsky and the movement to which, for a whole period of history, he gave his name.

The opening up of the Russian archives marks a new stage in the study of the October revolution and its outcome, including the role of Trotsky and his supporters. Scholars in Russia, we think, should be encouraged to make use of these sources and to disseminate the results of their work widely. The publication of the work of Trotsky in Russian should help to develop interest amongst young people who will include the scholars of the future.

We ask you to assist, both by making a financial contribution, and, where possible, by taking an interest in the committee’s work. Though we hope to attract some substantial sums from amongst those who can afford them, any contribution you can manage will be welcome #8211; and will mean you will put on the committee’s mailing list to receive information about conferences, publications and other activities.

Whatever funds we raise will be used to assist in:

  • the publication of Trotsky's work and significant work about Trotsky in Russian, Ukrainian and other languages of the former USSR;
  • international visits (for example, attendance at conferences) by scholars from the former Soviet Union to Western countries;
  • support for the maintenance of the Trotsky house at Cayoacan [should the need be confirmed].

If you want your contribution to be directed to a specific purpose, please make that clear and your wishes will be respected. Cheques should be sent to Terry Brotherstone, University of Aberdeen, Department of History, Kings College, Old Aberdeen, AB24 3FX, Scotland, U.K., made out to “Trotsky Account”. Professor Paul Dukes, Director of the Centre for Russian, East and Central European Studies at the University of Aberdeen, has kindly agreed to act as honorary auditor of our accounts, pending the establishment of a more formal organisation. We will send any contributor who asks an annual statement of the money collected and the use to which it has been put.

Yours sincerely,

Terry Brotherstone,
co-editor, The Trotsky Reappraisal,
Edinburgh University Press, 1992.
(phone: +1224-272466; fax: +1224-272203;

Hillel Ticktin,
editor of Critique; co-editor, The Ideas of Leon Trotsky,
Porcupine, 1996.
(phone: +141-330 5594; fax: +1555-840057;

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Updated by ETOL: 22.10.2003