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Leon Trotsky was a leader of the Russian October Revolution, second in command to Lenin. During the 1920s he opposed the policies of Stalin. As a consequence, he was deported and eventually assassinated.
When historian David King visited Moscow in 1970, he discovered that the Soviets had made a systematic attempt to purge all mention of Trotsky -- as well as any other person who had fallen out of political favor -- from historical records. This included removing Trotsky's image from photographs. King decided to start collecting examples of the Soviet falsification of photographs. In 1997 he published a book based on his collection, The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia.
The top image, from King's collection, was taken by L.Y. Leonidov on November 7, 1919. It shows Soviet party leaders celebrating the second anniversary of the October Revolution in Red Square. Trotsky (wearing a hat and saluting) is standing near the center of the image to Lenin's left.
In 1967 a doctored version of the photo (bottom) was included in an exhibition in Moscow. Trotsky had disappeared from it. Also gone were L.B. Kamenev (who was to Lenin's immediate left) and A.B. Khalatov (the bearded man who was standing in front of the child and Trotsky).
Links and References
• King, David. (Dec 2000). "Photographic images should not be relied upon, but even falsified photographs can be illuminating for students of History." New Perspective. PDF File.