Zinaida Lvovna Bronstein was born in Siberia where her parents were living in exile at the time. As a child, she was mostly raised by Trotsky's parents, David and Anna Bronstein, since her parents parted ways in 1902 and were both revolutionaries with necessarily erratic lifestyles.
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Zinaida married Zakhar Borisovich Moglin (1897 - 1937, perished during the Great Purges) and had a daughter with him, Alexandra Moglina (1923 - 1989). She then married Platon Ivanovich Volkov (1898 - 1936), a Russian Trotskyist. The couple had a son, Vsevolod (diminutive Seva, later Esteban) Volkov, who was born in 1926. Platon Volkov was exiled to Siberia in 1928, but returned from the exile in the early 1930s. He was re-arrested in 1935 and disappeared in the Gulag. Zinaida took care of her younger sister Nina, for three months in 1928 while the latter was dying of tuberculosis.
In 1931 Joseph Stalin allowed Zinaida to leave the Soviet Union to join her father, Leon Trotsky, in exile. However, she was allowed to take one child with her, Vsevolod. Suffering from tuberculosis and depression, she committed suicide in Berlin on January 5, 1933. In Zina, a film by Ken McMullen, the suggestion is that the relationship between Zinaida and her father, Leon Trotsky, mirrors the Greek tragedy of Antigone - an idea also substantially developed by the work of the great historian Isaac Deutscher.
Zinaida's daughter Alexandra remained in the USSR and was raised by her father, Zakhar Moglin. After Moglin's exile in 1932, she was taken care of by her grandmother, Alexandra Sokolovskaya, who was in turn exiled in 1935 and perished in the labor camps. Finally, Alexandra herself was exiled to Kazakhstan, but survived and returned to Moscow after Stalin's death. She died of cancer in 1989.
Zinaida's son, Vsevolod, first stayed with Trotsky in Turkey, then with Trotsky's son Lev Sedov in Germany, Austria and finally Paris. After Lev Sedov's death in 1938, his girlfriend wanted to keep the child. Trotsky sued for custody and won the case, but Sedov's girlfriend went into hiding with the boy. Eventually, Trotsky's friends found Vsevolod and sent him to Mexico, where he re-joined Trotsky. After Trotsky was assassinated by Stalin's agent in 1940, Vsevolod remained in Mexico, adopted the name Esteban (the Mexican equivalent of his name), became an engineer and had four daughters. He is the current custodian of the Trotsky museum in Mexico City.