Molotov’s Magic Lantern

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

British journalist Rachel Polonsky tells about discovering an apartment in Moscow that was once home to Vyacheslav Molotov, one of Stalin’s ruthless henchmen. She uncovered an extensive library and an old magic lantern in his old apartment, which led her on an extraordinary journey throughout Russia. In Molotov’s Magic Lantern: Travels in Russian History she visits the cities and landscapes of the books from Molotov’s library: works by Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, and others, some of which were sent to the Gulag by the very man who collected their books.


Rachel Polonsky

Comments [5]

Shanghai Girl from New York

How interesting to find a non-fiction book with "Molotov" in its title.
In the novel "Memoirs of Mo Molotova", we enter a bleak yet fascinating world cloaked to the West where Eurasian appearances are a double-edged sword in some parts of Asia, and where biracial women are simultaneously fetishized and cherished. It is the little-known story of the Russians fleeing the Bolsheviks and seeking refuge in Shanghai, the “Paris of the Orient”, and the vicissitudes of life experiences of their Chinese descendants.

Jan. 12 2011 02:15 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC


Rokossovsky finished up as a Marshall, not a general. I'm just sayin' ...

Jan. 12 2011 01:00 PM
Larry from Brooklyn

It is the Aral Sea in central Asia that is drying up. Lake Baikal is fresh water, in Siberia, much healthier although pollution is increasing.

Jan. 12 2011 12:55 PM
tom from qns

How does the author feel about the value of these great old interiors kept intact -- How would she feel if a developer planned to gut the old place?

Jan. 12 2011 12:50 PM
Mike from Tribeca

I'm sure I wasn't the only person who was taken aback when Molotov's death was announced in the mid-eighties. I hope your guest will address what he was doing all those years after Stalin's demise, and perhaps inform your audience a little about his wife, Polina Zhemchuzhina, who was Jewish.

Jan. 12 2011 11:47 AM

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