Vyacheslav Molotov was one of the most powerful men of the Soviet Union. He was Prime Minister of the Soviet Union from 1930 to 1941 but Molotov has become known most of all as the People's Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, a post he held for 13 years. When he accepted this post in May 1939, he had no experience whatsoever in the field of foreign policy but he proved to be gifted. Friend and foe alike acknowledged Molotov as an exceptionally talented diplomat. Although his contempories described him as a dull, opinionated and self-centered bureaucrat, at the same time he could display a casual ruthlessness towards the victims of the Stalinist regime. As intimus and confidant of Joseph V. Stalin, he played an major role in the terror regime that characterised the Soviet Union under Stalin. He readily admitted later he had put his signature to countless death sentences. In particular, Molotov owed his succesful career mainly to his unconditional loyalty to his mentor Stalin, something which applied to many other prominent Soviet politicians. For a long time, Molotov was considered Stalin's possible successor and he continued defending Stalin's controversial heritage fervently until his death in 1986.
- Soviet Union
- Soviet Russia, alternative name for the USSR.