logo logo

Viacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov

Viacheslav Molotov, USSR Revolutionary, politician, statesman, diplomat.

Background

  • Molotov, Viacheslav was born on March 9, 1890 in Kukarka, Viatka Gouvernement.

  • Education

    • Educated at the Kazan’ High School (real’noe uchilishche.).

    Career

    • Joined Marxist student circles. Very close to Tikhomimov, the son of a rich merchant, who financed the Bolsheviks. Arrested and exiled to Vologda in 1907.

      After his release, studied at Petersburg Polytechnic. Joined Pravda, which Tikhomirnov had organized and financed. Member of the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee of the Social Democratic Party under Shliapnikov in 1915.

      During the February Revolution 1917, due to the absence of party leaders of real calibre (who were either abroad or in exile), amassed many nominal positions— member of the Central Committee, one of the editors of Pravda, member of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet. After the October Revolution 1917, had several party posts in the provinces. During Lenin’s differences with Trotsky, recalled by Lenin and appointed secretary of the Central Committee in 1921, but in 1922, already replaced by Stalin (on the suggestion of Zinoviev and Kamenev).

      Appreciated by Stalin (who called him ‘stone backside’) for his ability to sit for hours during interminable party committee meetings. Became Stalin’s most trusted and faithful aide. Led the chorus of approval during the purges in the 1930s, signing death warrants for his old friends and comrades.

      Did not protest even against the imprisonment of his own wife, Polina Zhemchuzhina (she was Jewish). Secretary of the Central Committee, 1921-1930. Prime Minister of the USSR, 1930-1941.

      Foreign Minister (replacing Litvinov) from 1939. Signed the pact with Nazi Germany in Berlin, 23 August 1939 (with Ribbentrop). Deputy head of government, 194157.

      Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1941-1949 and again 1953-1957. Accompanied Stalin to the Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam conferences. At the beginning of the Cold War, became known as Comrade Niet.

      During the Khrushchev thaw, criticized (initially in connection with his Stalinist line on Yugoslavia), and after the 20th Party Congress in October 1956, dismissed from his post of Foreign Minister, just before Tito’s visit to the Soviet Union. In June 1957, with Kaganovich and Malenkov, made a bid for power, gaining a majority in the Politburo, but Khrushchev managed to convene a plenary session of the Central Committee (bringing members to Moscow by special planes), which voted down the Stalinist group (Molotov, Kaganovich, Malenkov and Shepilov). Practically sent into exile as Ambassador to Mongolia, 1957-1960, later appointed Soviet representative at the International Atomic Agency in Vienna, 1960-1962.

      In 1962, however, dismissed from all his posts and expelled from the party. From the early 1960s, lived in retirement in Moscow with his wife, who returned from the camps. Wrote memoirs (which remained unpublished).

      Under Chernenko, re-admitted into the party, July 1984.
    See on larger map
    Born March 9, 1890
    Died 1986
    (aged 95)
    Nationality