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Molotov, Vyacheslav (1890–1986)

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Russian revolutionary, staunch Stalinist, and diplomat, responsible for the signing of the nazi–soviet pact . He came from a modest background, and gravitated to extremist politics at a young age. He adopted the name “Molotov,” a term that meant “hammer” and was later used to describe improvised incendiary devices. A member of the bolsheviks and editor of Pravda , he spent much of his time in and out of tsarist prisons. However, on the eve of the February Revolution of 1917 (see russian revolutions of 1917), he found himself one of the most senior Bolsheviks at liberty inside Petrograd. He then used his influence to promote the communist takeover eventually achieved early in November. As a member of the politburo from 1921, Molotov sided with stalin in the power struggle that followed lenin's death. As prime minister from 1930 to 1941 he oversaw the implementation of Stalinist policy on the five-year plans and collectivization , and well as on the operation of the great purges . With growing international tension, Stalin made him foreign minister too in 1939, some months before the signing of the non-aggression pact with the Nazi regime. He retained this post for the next ten years. Though long viewed as a potential Soviet leader, he was outmaneuvered by khrushchev after Stalin's death. Molotov returned to the foreign affairs portfolio from 1953 to 1956, but thereafter ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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