10 Scapegoats Still in the Crosshairs

Leon Trotsky
A portrait of Trotsky hanging in the Mexico City museum bearing his name. © Susana Gonzalez/dpa/Corbis

Scapegoats are nothing new in politics, and perhaps the most famous is Communist leader Leon Trotsky. The sharp-witted and charismatic hero of the Russian Civil War could have become the next ruler of the Soviet Union after Vladimir Lenin died – if it weren't for Josef Stalin.

Stalin was ruthless and brutal, a leader feared by the masses. When Lenin died, Stalin took over the government. Trotsky, who believed Stalin had poisoned Lenin, denounced Stalin as an enemy of the revolution. Stalin responded by tossing Trotsky first from the party and then from the country. Trotsky, along with many of his friends and family, became a hunted man, but Stalin kept him alive for a while and used Trotsky as a scapegoat for the failures of Soviet society [sources: Hudson, Campbell].