Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik, and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin. Molotov served as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars from 1930 to 1941, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956. He served as First Deputy Premier from 1942 to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev. Molotov retired in 1961 after several years of obscurity.
Molotov was the principal Soviet signatory of the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact of 1939, whose most important provisions were added in the form of a secret protocol that stipulated an invasion of Poland and partition of its territory between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. He was aware of the Katyn massacre committed by the Soviet authorities during this period.
After World War II, Molotov was involved in negotiations with the Western allies, in which he became noted for his diplomatic skills.