MOLOTOV REMEMBERS by Albert Resis

MOLOTOV REMEMBERS

Inside Kremlin Politics
edited by
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 V.M. Molotov (1890-1986) rose to power with Lenin, serving briefly as the USSR's premier before Stalin's ascent and then as foreign minister during Stalin's reign and afterward. Like his masters, he left no official memoir--but in 1969, he held 140 conversations with Soviet poet and biographer Felix Chuev, who recorded the talks in a diary. Here, intelligently organized by Resis (History/Northern Illinois University), are extracts of the conversations--the most extensive overview ever available by a Bolshevik founding father of the Soviet Union's youth and middle age. Resis divides and groups the Q&As between Chuev and Molotov into four sections: ``International Affairs,'' ``With Lenin,'' ``With Stalin,'' and ``After Stalin.'' The subjects range from the personal (during Stalin's rule, ``We ate Siberian fish rather often at Stalin's place. White salmon...frozen, with garlic and vodka, raw...Beria would also bring grits, corn, and, in particular, certain kinds of cheese...'') to the global (during WW II, Churchill ``hated us and tried to use us. But we used him, too. We made him work with us''). What comes through most forcefully is the ruthlessness of the Soviet leaders (``Lenin was implacable when the Revolution...was at stake,'' says Molotov, implicating the Bolshevik leader in the execution of the Czar and his family; ``I believe [that in the 1930's] we had to pass through a period of error....Beria on his own could not have done it. He carried out the orders, very harsh orders issued by Stalin'')--including Molotov himself: ``Stalin, in my opinion, pursued a correct line: let innocent heads roll, but there will be no wavering....'' An important resource for future Soviet studies, Molotov's words also provide a mesmerizing and chilling chronicle of how the Marxist dream mutated into the Soviet nightmare--and of how power, once again, corrupted absolutely.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1993
ISBN: 1-56663-027-4
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Ivan Dee/Rowman & Littlefield
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993




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