Molotov pp 4-23 | Cite as

The Making of a Revolutionary, 1890–1917

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


Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin, to become better known to the world as Molotov, was born on 9 March (24 February) 1890 in Kukarka, (later Sovetsk), Vyatka guberniya (province), central Russia.1 Kukarka, a town of medieval foundations, was an important trading and manufacturing centre, making sledges, carts, baskets and lace.2 Vyacheslav’s father, Mikhail Prokhorovich Skryabin, is described as a prikazchik, a salesman, and his origins are generally acknowledged to be petty bourgeois.3 Molotov qualified prikazchik in his memoirs, describing his father as a clerk, who earned sixty rubles a month in 1909.4 This was considerably above the average yearly wage of 264 rubles for factory workers, equal to that of a teacher in a factory or municipal school, but well below that of 1200 rubles earned by zemstvo (local government authority) doctors.5 Molotov’s mother, Anna Yakovlevna,6 came from a wealthy merchant family, the Nebogatikovs, who ran a flourishing trading house in Kukarka. She was the daughter of Mikhail, Skryabin’s employer, whose three brothers took over the business on their father’s death. They were sufficiently wealthy to keep two river steamers.7


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  1. 2.
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    Ibid., RGAS-PI, 82/1/147; Wolfe, B., Three who Made a Revolution: a Biographical History, Harmondsworth: 1966, p. 622. The Tikhomirnov family was to continue to be important in the history of Bolshevism and in Molotov’s career. After 1917 Victor Tikhomirnov became a member of the kollegiya of NKVD, but died in the influenza epidemic of 1919. (See BSE 2nd edn, Moscow: 1954, vol. 42, p. 498.) The youngest brother, G. A. Tikhomirnov (1899–1955), after serving in the army and as a Chekist during the revolutionary period, became closely associated with Molotov on the Central Committee Secretariat in the early 1920s. He worked in the Secretariat of the Chairman of Sovnarkom 1937–1938 and was thus able to write the official kratkaya biografiya of Molotov. He later became director of the Marx-Engels Lenin Institute, ibid.; Bazhanov, B., Vospominaniya vyshego sekretarya Stalina, Paris: 1980, p. 23.Google Scholar
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© 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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