Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov

(1890—1986) Soviet statesman

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(b. 9 Mar. 1890, d. 8 Nov. 1986).

Soviet Commissar (Minister) of Foreign Affairs 1936–9, 1953–6 Born V. M. Skryabin at Kukarkan (near Kazan), he joined the Bolsheviks in 1906, and was thereafter exiled several times for his revolutionary activities. In 1912, he adopted the apt name Molotov (‘The Hammer’). At the time of the first Russian Revolution of 1917, he was one of the most prominent Bolsheviks present in Petrograd (formerly St Petersburg). After the October Revolution he carried out several duties in the provinces as a trusted aide to Lenin. After Stalin's accession to power, however, he became his right-hand man, collaborating closely with him to organize the Great Purge and other terror campaigns, which even affected his own Jewish wife. Utterly loyal to Stalin, Molotov was Secretary to the Central Committee of the party (1921–30), and Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (i.e. Prime Minister), 1930–41. As Commissar (Minister from 1946) of Foreign Affairs, he signed the Hitler-Stalin Pact and, towards the end of World War II, served as close adviser to Stalin at the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences. Having fallen out of favour in Stalin's last years, he was unable to wrest the party leadership from Khrushchev, whose anti-Stalinism campaign compromised him greatly. After he had taken part in an unsuccessful coup against Khrushchev in 1957, Khrushchev gleefully made him ambassador to Mongolia (1957–60). He served as the Soviet representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency until 1962.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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