Tag Archives: soviet government

today’s birthday: Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov (1890)

Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov (1890)

A leading figure in Soviet government from the 1920s until 1957, Molotov rose to power as a protégé of Stalin. He was chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars from 1930–41 and foreign minister from 1939–49 and 1953–56. In the early days of World War II, he negotiated a treaty with Germany, but after the 1941 invasion of Russia, he worked to strengthen ties with the West. Why is the Molotov cocktail, a makeshift bomb made of a breakable container filled with flammable liquid, named for him? More… Discuss



Samizdat was the clandestine system of writing, printing, and distributing literature that was suppressed by the Soviet government. The term also refers to the literature itself. Samizdat began appearing in the 1950s and typically took the form of carbon copies of typewritten sheets that were passed from reader to reader. Subjects included dissident activities, transcripts of political trials, and analyses of socioeconomic and cultural themes. What does samizdat mean in RussianMore…



The Doctors’ Plot

In January 1953, a plot to murder leading Soviet government and party officials was “uncovered.” Nine prominent doctors, at least six of them Jews, were arrested and confessed their involvement. The reports sparked an upwelling of anti-Semitism in the USSR. Months later, news broke that the charges were false and that the confessions had been obtained by torture. Who alleged that Stalin, whose death in March brought down the scheme, had planned to use the scandal to launch a massive party purgeMore… Discuss



The 26 Baku Commissars

In 1920, Azerbaijan was taken by the Red Army and made into a Soviet republic. However, for a brief time before that, it had been an independent country. During that time, the 26 Baku Commissars—a group of Bolsheviks who tried to set up a Soviet government in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku—were executed after their attempt at imposing Soviet rule in Azerbaijan failed. Curiously, when their remains were exhumed in 2009, some of the Commissars were missing. Who might have escaped? More… Discuss