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Citizen Kurchatov: Stalin's Bomb Maker


Vyacheslav Molotov

Molotov joined the Bolsheviks in 1906 at the age of 16. In 1912, he and Joseph Stalin cofounded the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda (which means "Truth" in Russian). The paper was delivered to peasants in the country and Russian soldiers at the front-lines in World War One.

After the October Revolution, Molotov rapidly rose through party ranks, and positioned himself behind Stalin. When Lenin died and Stalin took control of the government, Molotov was named premier of the USSR in 1930.

Molotov in uniformIn 1939, Molotov was also named Foreign Minister and negotiated a peace agreement with Germany. But to prepare for a possible war, the Soviet Union invaded Finland to add territory between Russia and Germany. The Red Army was met with resistance, including a new and simple weapon made from bottles filled with fuel and thrown like a grenade. They were soon nicknamed "Molotov Cocktails."

Initially, Stalin put Molotov in charge of the atomic bomb project, and Kurchatov answered to him during the war. However, after Germany surrendered, Stalin put Beria in charge of the project.

After Stalin's death, Molotov's hardline ideas were used against him when Krushchev called for a "peaceful coexistence" with the United States. Molotov was soon relieved of all duties and even kicked out of the Communist Party. He lived in obscurity until his death in 1986, two years before the death of his fellow revolutionary, Malenkov.



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