Vyacheslav Molotov

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Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov (Russian: Вячесла́в Миха́йлович Мо́лотов; 9 March, [O.S. 25 February] 1890 – 8 November 1986) was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium (Politburo) of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev. He was the principal Soviet signatory of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact of 1939 (also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) as well as post-war negotiations, and a signatory of the Politburo resolution authorizing the Katyn massacre. He remained unapologetic and had few regrets of the actions of the Party under Stalin, a view that remained until his death. The Molotov cocktail was derisively named after him by the Finnish military during the Winter War.

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Origins and early life

Molotov was born Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin (Вячеслав Михайлович Скря́бин) in the village of Kukarka (now Sovetsk in Kirov Oblast), the son of a shop clerk. Contrary to a commonly repeated error, he was not related to the composer Alexander Scriabin.[1] He was educated at a secondary school in Kazan, and joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1906. For his political work he took the pseudonym Molotov (from the Russian molot, "hammer"). He was arrested in 1909 and spent two years in exile in Vologda. In 1911 he enrolled at the St Petersburg Polytechnic, and also joined the editorial staff of Pravda, the underground Bolshevik newspaper, of which Joseph Stalin was editor. In 1913 Molotov was again arrested and deported to Irkutsk, but in 1915 he escaped and returned to the capital.

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