On the morning of Nov. 7, at the headquarters of the ORT (the state-owned Russian equivalent of the BBC), there was a collective sigh of relief: the first episode of the miniseries Trotsky, which had aired in prime time the previous night, reached an audience share of 17 percent. A very good result, given that their competitor, Russia2, had aired another series at the same time, this one dedicated to Lenin, which still managed to attract 11 percent of viewers.
Trotsky, consisting of eight 50-minute episodes on the life of the Russian revolutionary and Stalin’s sworn enemy, was well-received by viewers, and there are rumors at the ORT that negotiations to sell it in many other countries, starting with those of the former Soviet Union, are at an advanced stage.
The Russian production spared no expense. They hired some of the best actors and directors of photography in the country, and they rebuilt, in painstaking detail, the famous train in which Leon Trotsky lived during the civil war. Konstantin Khabensky was cast in the main role, an actor known in the West mainly for the Night Watch movies, but a major star in his own right in the firmament of Russian cinema, coming from the classical acting school of Leningrad. Olga Sutulova stars alongside him, also of the Leningrad school, very convincing in the role of Natalia Sedova, as the critic Pavel Kudekin also pointed out.