Molotov, Vyacheslav Mikhailovich

   No one save Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin cast a longer shadow across the first fours decades of Soviet history than V. M. Molotov. Born Skryabin, Molotov joined the Bolshevik Party in 1905 and took the pseudonym “Molotov,” literally “hammer.” He became a member of the Communist Party Central Committee in 1921 and supported Stalin in his struggle for power. As a reward, he was made a member of the ruling Politburo in 1926. While Lenin was dismissive of his talents, referring to him as the best file clerk in Moscow, Stalin was a friend and patron, and the two vacationed together several times in the 1930s. Molotov became premier in 1930 and was one of Stalin’s chief lieutenants during the purges, cosigning hundreds of “death lists” containing the names of tens of thousands of people sentenced to be shot. These lists bear not only his name but also curses directed at the condemned. A grim Russian joke was that the initials V.M. stood not for Vyacheslav Molotov but rather for Vyshaya mera (Supreme Measure), or execution.
   In 1939 Stalin appointed Molotov commissar of foreign affairs and made him the coauthor of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Molotov was very realistic about German–Soviet relations, believing that the alliance could not last. He had the courage of his convictions and argued with Adolf Hitler during a state visit in 1940 about the future division of central Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union. It was Molotov whom Stalin selected to announce to the Soviet people the beginning of war with Germany. The statement ended: “Our Cause is just. The enemy will be defeated. Victory will be ours.” During World War II, Molotov served as foreign minister as well as a member of the GKO (State Defense Committee). He was Stalin’s principal negotiator with the United States and Great Britain. Molotov was a consumer of intelligence, and he placed intolerable strain on MGB officers for purloined documents during negotiations with the British and Americans during and immediately following the war. As minister of foreign affairs, Molotov was the first head of the Komitet Informatsii (Committee on Information), which controlled the foreign intelligence assets of both the MGB and the GRU. Stalin became suspicious of Molotov and in his last days meant to purge his old friend. Molotov was stripped of his ministerial position. His wife, Polina, was arrested in the 1948, accused of corruption and sexual wantonness, and imprisoned in Central Asia. At the 19th Party Conference, Stalin attacked Molotov, accusing him of proposing that the Crimea be given to the Soviet Jews as a homeland. Stalin also attacked Molotov’s wife, maintaining that she had friends “who were not to be trusted.” Only Stalin’s death saved Molotov from execution, and he regained his position as foreign minister, representing the Soviet Union at international conferences several times.
   Molotov gradually lost power. He fought with Nikita Khrushchev over de-Stalinization and was banished to Mongolia as ambassador. In 1962 he was stripped of his Communist Party membership. In his dotage, Molotov and his wife bitterly defended Stalin to any who would listen. He repeatedly petitioned the Central Committee to reinstate his party membership, which they finally acceded to 18 months before his death. Molotov left some interesting biographical notes. A young acolyte copied down their conversations over several years, producing 140 Conversations with Molotov, one of the most revealing memoirs of the Stalinist period.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Molotov,Vyacheslav Mikhailovich — Mo·lo·tov (mŏlʹə tôf , môlʹ , mōʹlə ), Vyacheslav Mikhailovich. 1890 1986. Soviet politician who was head of the Council of People s Commissars (1930 1941) and foreign minister (1939 1949 and 1953 1956). * * * …   Universalium

  • Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov — Wjatscheslaw Michailowitsch Molotow Wjatscheslaw Michailowitsch Molotow (russisch Вячеслав Михайлович Молотов, wiss. Transliteration Vjačeslav Michajlovič Molotov; eigentlich Skrjabin, russisch Скрябин; * 25. Februar/9. März 1890 in Kukarka,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov — noun Soviet statesman (1890 1986) • Syn: ↑Molotov • Instance Hypernyms: ↑statesman, ↑solon, ↑national leader …   Useful english dictionary

  • Vyacheslav Molotov — Вячеслав Молотов First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union In office 16 August 1942 – 29 June 1957 Premier Jo …   Wikipedia

  • Molotov cocktail — (n.) 1940, a term from Russo Finnish War (used and satirically named by the Finns), from Molotov (from Rus. molot hammer ) name taken by Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skriabin (1890 1986), Soviet minister of foreign affairs 1939 1949 …   Etymology dictionary

  • Molotov — [mäl′ə tôf΄, mō′ə tôf΄; mäl′ətôv΄, mō′ətôv΄, mō′ə tôf΄] V(yacheslav) M(ikhailovich) (born Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skriabin) 1890 1986; Russ. statesman: foreign minister of the U.S.S.R. (1939 49; 1953 56) …   English World dictionary

  • Molotov — Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skriabin …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • Molotov Cocktail —    The antitank weapon called a Molotov cocktail was not named to honor Molotov. Although how it was so dubbed is a matter of dispute, it is believed to have been named by the Finns during the Russo Finnish War of 1939 1940 as a satirical honor… …   Dictionary of eponyms

  • Molotov — /mol euh tawf , tof , moh leuh , maw /; Russ. /maw leuh teuhf/, n. 1. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich /vee ah cheuh slahf mi kuy leuh vich/; Russ. /vyi chyi slahf myi khuy leuh vyich/, (Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin), 1890 1986, Russian statesman:… …   Universalium

  • Molotov — Mo•lo•tov [[t]ˈmɒl əˌtɔf, ˌtɒf, ˈmoʊ lə [/t]] n. 1) big Vyacheslav Mikhailovich (Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin), 1890–1986, Russian commissar of foreign affairs 1939–49, 1953–56 2) geg former name of Perm …   From formal English to slang

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