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.
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.