Vyacheslav Molotov 1986


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During the Central Committee plenum of 19 December 1930, Alexey Rykov, the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (the equivalent of a Western head of government) was succeeded by Molotov. In this post, Molotov oversaw the Stalin regime's collectivisation of agriculture. He followed Stalin's line by using a combination of force and propaganda to crush peasant resistance to collectivisation, including the deportation of millions of kulaks (peasants with property) to gulags. An enormous number of the deportees died from exposure and overwork. He signed the Law of Spikelets and personally led the Extraordinary Commission for Grain Delivery in Ukraine, which seized a reported 4. 2 million tonnes of grain from the peasants during a widespread manmade famine (later known as the "Holodomor" to Ukrainians). Contemporary historians estimate that between seven and eleven million people died, either of starvation or in gulags, in the process of farm collectivization. Molotov also oversaw the implementation of the First Five-Year Plan for rapid industrialisation.