Chapter 18
Trotsky in Decline

FROM THE KREMLIN I WENT straight to the Foreign Office reception for diplomats and newsmen at the Sugar Palace. My main object was to get some advance information on the Trotskyist demonstration that, according to rumor, was to take place during the tenth-anniversary parade on Red Square.

On the previous night AP headquarters and our bureaus in London, Paris, and Berlin had cabled for confirmation or denials of the rumor. According to stories published abroad, Moscow was in a state of siege.

The affair at the Morozov mansion, like most other Soviet functions, was a gaudy display. Against the drab background of a hungering, ragged, and prematurely freezing capital, they loaded tables with great heaps of fresh caviar, wild game, fish, wine, and champagne and vodka of old vintage. The guests drank and ate amidst a clatter of plates, bottles, clinking glasses, and loud, swaggering talk. Among those crowding around the buffets and rubbing shoulders with foreign diplomats and newsmen were discreetly attired spies, provocateurs, and the usual assortment of beautiful women forced into espionage service. Sincere idealists like Bukharin, Rykov, and Chicherin never showed up at any of these functions. The only admirable feature of this one was a concert given by the Opera and the Ballet.


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