The Vyacheslav Molotov Book Report Essay Research

The Vyacheslav Molotov Book Report Essay, Research Paper

For much of the time between 1930 and 1952, Vyacheslav

Molotov, a laconic, unsmiling man called Mr Nyet behind

his back by western diplomats, was second only to

Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. He played a decisive

role in the famine of 1932, during which millions of

peasants died of starvation and disease. He was

instrumental in liquidating the kulaks (the land-owning

farmers). He was Stalin’s faithful henchman during the

Great Terror, in 1936-38, when both the Red Army

command and the country’s political leadership were

decimated. His name is on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact

of 1939, which kept the Soviet Union out of the war

until it was attacked by Hitler two years later. His

final years as a power in the land encompassed some of

the chilliest days of the cold war.Nikita Khrushchev,

Molotov’s rival, sent him out of harm’s way, as

ambassador to Outer Mongolia. In 1962 Molotov was

expelled from the party but he was re-instated in 1984.

Having served Lenin and Stalin, he died a pensioner in

1986, aged 96. Not a bad record for somebody whom a

British historian, D.C. Watt, described as “one of the

most inexorably stupid men to hold the foreign minister

ship of any major power in this century.” That judgment

is inaccurate, as this book shows. Molotov was the

supreme apparatchik. Stalin ordered him to divorce his

wife. Molotov complied–only to be reunited with her

after Stalin’s death. Resilience guided by intuitive

cunning ensured his endurance, but only just. “I think that if he [Stalin] had remained alive another year, I would not have survived.” For all that, Molotov remained to the last an unrepentant

Stalinist, defending without equivocation everything

Stalin did and stood for. Felix Chuev, a Russian

biographer and an admirer of Molotov, painstakingly

recorded conversations with his hero in meetings

stretching over a period of 17 years. These

conversations have been edited for this book by

Albert Resis, an American historian. Although some of

the material is uninteresting, a lot of it is both

significant and fascinating. The book is organised not

chronologically but according to topics. This helps

impart a more vivid, comprehensive impression of

Molotov and his times. On international affairs,

Molotov is typically epigrammatic. In the sections

“With Lenin” and “With Stalin”, he is almost expansive.

Although you feel that Mr Chuev is far too easy on his

subject throughout, here the book really comes to life.

The central message in all that Molotov has to say is

that Stalin was right. Molotov himself predicts: In

time, Stalin will be rehabilitated in history. There

will be a Stalin museum in Moscow. Without fail! By

popular demand. The role of Stalin was tremendous. I do

not doubt that his name will rise again and duly win

a glorious place in history. In 1991 Terra, a leading

Moscow publisher, printed 300,000 copies of an earlier

version of this book. In his introduction, Mr Resis

suggests that its publication was “intended to rally

neo-Stalinists and other hard-liners in a movement to

oust Gorbachev and establish a quasi-Stalinist

regime.” The results of Russia’s elections presumably

came as less of a surprise to the publishers than to

many western commentators.


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