Molotov pp 244-268 | Cite as

Unrepentant Stalinist 1953–1957

  • Derek Watson
Part of the Studies in Russian and East European History and Society book series


Molotov was restored to a very strong position on Stalin’s death. He was called to two meetings of the Central Committee Presidium Bureau, held to discuss Stalin’s illness, on 2 March 1953. At the end of three further sessions in the next two days, in the early hours of 5 March, it was decided to convene a joint meeting of the Central Committee, Council of Ministers and Presidium of the Supreme Soviet that day. Such a joint meeting was unprecedented.1 At its forty-minute session, chaired by Khrushchev, the joint party and government body appointed Malenkov head of government, with Beriya, Molotov, Bulganin and Kaganovich (listed in this order) as first deputy chairmen of the Council of Ministers. Molotov was also re-appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Bureaux of the Presidium of the Council and Central Committee were abolished. Molotov became a member of the 15-person Central Committee Presidium, where he was listed third in seniority (fourth if the dying Stalin who was listed first, is counted) behind Malenkov and Beriya, but before Khrushchev, who was listed fifth.2 Whilst most of the ‘leading group’ seemed to show relief, Molotov sat stony-faced and immobile through these and other proceedings.3 The abolition of the Central Committee Presidium’s Commission for Foreign Affairs enhanced Molotov’s status as Minister for Foreign Affairs,4 although a move, in April or May, to have foreign policy questions discussed only in the Presidium of the Council of Ministers, which Molotov ascribed to Beriya, but possibly by Malenkov, may have weakened his position temporarily.5


Foreign Policy Foreign Affair Central Committee Foreign Minister Socialist Society 
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  1. 7.
    Taubman, W., Khrushchev: the Man and his Era, London: 2003, pp. 245–8; Knight, Bena: Stalins First Lieutenant, pp. 184, 186–91.Google Scholar
  2. 26.
    Schecter, J. L. and Luchkov, V. V., eds, Khrushchev Remembers: the Glasnost Tapes, Boston: 1990, pp. 86–7.Google Scholar
  3. 40.
    Roberts, F., Dealing with Dictators: the Destruction and Revival of Europe, 1930–1970, London: 1991, p. 168.Google Scholar
  4. 46.
    Ibid., p. 126–7, citing AVPRF, 6/13/129/12, no 547. See Exchange of Letters between Sir Winston Churchill and Mr. Molotov1954 … CMD. 9418, London: 1955 and Further Correspondence between Her Majestys Government and the Soviet Government regarding Collective Security, CMD 9281, London: 1954.Google Scholar
  5. 50.
    RGANI, 3/8/388, 23–5, printed Fursenko, A. A., ed., Prezidium TsK KPSS 1954–1964, t. 1, Chernovye protokolnye zapisi zasedanii, Stenogrammy (hereinafter Fursenko, Prezidium TsK), Moscow: 2003, pp. 35–6.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 287; Mićunović, V, trans. Floyd, D., Moscow Diary, London: 1980, pp. 23, 34, 38.Google Scholar
  7. 113.
    See Gluchowski, L. W., ‘Poland 1956: Khrushchev, Gomulka and the “Polish October” ’, Cold War International History Project Bulletin, no. 5, 1995, pp. 1, 38–45.Google Scholar
  8. 119.
    See Kramer, M., ‘New Evidence on Soviet Decision-Making and the 1956 Polish and Hungarian Crises’, Cold War International History Project Bulletin, no. 8–9, Winter 1996/1997, pp. 367–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Derek Watson 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Watson
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Russian and East European StudiesThe University of BirminghamUK

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