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Citizen Kurchatov: Stalin's Bomb Maker


Enormous Effort Abroad

By 1944, Kurchatov had about 100 researchers, engineers, and technicians working on the project. But the Manhattan Project had hundreds of thousands. Stalin still considered it a minor project, and he was still suspicious of the idea.

Kurchatov writingUnder these conditions, Kurchatov started on the project with energy and conviction. He considered himself just as involved in the war as the front-line soldier, and he often signed his name "Soldier Kurchatov."

However, he was frustrated with the lack of support he was getting from the government. After several attempts to get additional resources from Molotov, Kurchatov wrote directly to Beria:

"Some 3,000 pages of new intelligence materials show the enormous effort abroad. Might you offer some suggestions for our work corresponding to our great state?"

It was risky going over the head of his direct supervisor, Molotov, but Kurchatov was unhappy with what he considered Molotov's ineffective leadership. While Beria was one of the most dangerous men in Russia, he was also an effective manager and could protect those he wanted to protect.


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