The Info List - Georgy Chicherin

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Georgy Vasilyevich Chicherin (24 November 1872– 7 July 1936) was a Marxist
revolutionary and a Soviet politician. He served as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs in the Soviet government from March 1918 to 1930.


1 Childhood and early career 2 Bolshevik
government 3 References 4 Sources 5 For Further Reading

Childhood and early career[edit] A distant relative of Aleksandr Pushkin, Georgy Chicherin
Georgy Chicherin
was born in an old noble family. His father, Vasily N. Chicherin, was a diplomat in the service of the Russian Empire. As a young man, Chicherin became fascinated with history as well as classical music, especially Richard Wagner, and with Friedrich Nietzsche, passions that he would pursue throughout his life. He also wrote a book about Mozart. He spoke all major European languages and a number of Asian ones.[1] After graduating from St. Petersburg University
St. Petersburg University
with a degree in history and languages, Chicherin worked in the archival section of the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs from 1897 to 1903. In 1904 Chicherin inherited the estate of his celebrated uncle, Boris Chicherin, in the Tambov
region and became very wealthy. He immediately used his newfound fortune to support revolutionary activities in the runup to the Russian Revolution of 1905
Russian Revolution of 1905
and was forced to flee abroad to avoid arrest later in the year. He spent the next 13 years in Western Europe, mostly London, Paris
and Berlin, where he joined the Menshevik
faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party and was active in emigre politics. While in Germany, he underwent medical treatment in attempts to cure his homosexuality.[2] With the outbreak of World War I
World War I
in 1914, Chicherin adopted an antiwar position, which brought him closer to Vladimir Lenin's Bolsheviks. In 1917, he was arrested by the British government for his antiwar writings and spent a few months in Brixton
Prison. Bolshevik
government[edit] The Bolsheviks had come to power in Russia
after the October Revolution of 1917. The first head of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs (which had replaced the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Leon Trotsky, secured Chicherin's release and safe passage to Russia
in exchange for British subjects held in Russia
at the time, including George Buchanan, the British ambassador.[3] By now, Chicherin was in poor health and overweight. Upon his return to Russia
in early 1918, Chicherin formally joined the Bolsheviks and was appointed Trotsky's deputy during the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. After the treaty was signed in late February 1918, Trotsky, who had advocated a different policy, resigned his position in early March. Chicherin became the acting head of the Commissariat and was appointed Commissar for Foreign Affairs on 30 May. On 2 March 1919 he was one of five men chairing the first congress of Comintern.[4] Chicherin followed a pro-German foreign policy in line with his anti-British attitudes. He had developed them during his time in the foreign ministry, when Britain was blocking Russian expansion in Asia. He even suggested to Lenin
that English workers should be formed into volunteer units. That was in 1920, when Soviet armies were nearing Warsaw. Lenin
agreed but nothing came of it. In July 1918 his close friend, Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, became the new German ambassador after his predecessor, Count Wilhelm Mirbach, was shot in the Left SR uprising.[5] In 1922, Chicherin participated in the Genoa Conference
Genoa Conference
and signed the Treaty of Rapallo with Germany. He begged Lenin
not to wreck the Genoa Conference (he believed this would make it easier to get foreign loans). He pursued a policy of collaboration with Germany
and developed a closer working relationship with Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau. During this period, he also held diplomatic negotiations with nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, on the status of the Roman Catholic Church in the newly formed Soviet Union. Chicherin is thought to have had more phone conversations with Lenin than anyone else. When Stalin replaced Lenin
in 1924 he continued to be Stalin's foreign minister. Stalin valued Chicherin's opinions. In 1928 Chicherin stated that he wanted an improved relationship with the capitalist countries to encourage foreign investment. This policy had Stalin's enthusiastic support and was approved by the Politburo in late 1927 and early 1928. Stalin said: "it can hardly be doubted that Comrade Chicherin is better informed about the mood in foreign investment circles that any of us." It was rare for Stalin to acknowledge that someone was more knowledgeable than himself.[6] Although known for his workaholic habits he became sidelined because from November 1926 to June 1927, and from September 1928 until January 1930 Chicherin was receiving medical treatment in Germany
or the French Riviera.[7] Chicherin showed considerable courage in writing letters criticizing current politicians and the policies that were being pursued. In February 1927, Chicherin criticized Bukharin for his speeches that had a negative attitude to the relationship between the USSR and Germany. ‘This was particularly dangerous because of the deterioration of the relationship between the USSR and Britain.’ Chicherin said: ‘At a time when the British are working against us, we must take care of our relationship with other states. We have to nurture such relationships.’ On 3 June 1927 Chicherin, while in a sanatorium in Germany, wrote about incidents that were detrimental to Soviet-German relations. Chicherin was exasperated ‘by some comrades who can do no better than ruin all our work by attacking Germany, spoiling everything once and for all.’[8] When Voroshilov, at the May Day Parade in 1929, made a speech attacking the Weimar Republic, Chicherin dispatched a letter to the Politburo stating that the speech would do irreparable damage to German-Soviet relations. In 1930 Chicherin was formally replaced by his deputy, Maxim Litvinov. When Chicherin died in 1936 the official Communist newspaper Izvestiya, summarising his character, described him as highly educated, an exceptional diplomat and a sophisticated art lover. A continuing terminal illness burdened his last years, which forced him away from his circle of friends and active work and led to an early death bed. This shows the respect Chicherin had gained among the Soviet elite.[9] After his death and until the Khrushchev Thaw
Khrushchev Thaw
he was rarely mentioned in Soviet literature, although he was mentioned in the Soviet Diplomatic dictionary occupying 52 pages in the 1950 Diplomatic Dictionary compared with Litvinov’s 92 pages and Molotov’s 292[10]

Chicherin, in the center, between the German foreign minister Stresemann, and his wife, in Berlin, 1928, in a break from the negotiations German-Lithuanian-Soviet

The Chicherin monument in Kaluga
on the street in his name


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^ G. Gorodetsky, Soviet Foreign Policy 1917-1991: A Retrospective (London, 1994), p.23, ISBN 0-7146-4506-0 ^ My Cousin, Foreign Commissar Chicherin. Baron Alexander Meyendorff. Russian Review, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Apr., 1971), pp. 173—178 ^ Also intervening in London
directly with Lloyd George on Chicherin's behalf was Vladimir Rosing, a Russian singer and political activist with high connections. Rosing's controversial secret meeting with Lloyd George was the subject of a House of Commons Debate on January 15, 1918. Bonar Law, Leader of the House of Commons, was questioned by an MP, Joseph King, whether or not Lloyd George had secretly met with Rosing to discuss Chicherin's release. Bonar Law
Bonar Law
stated that he was told that no such meeting took place. Rosing's personal memoirs confirm that it did. ^ Dmitri Volkogonov, The rise and fall of the Soviet Empire, p. 45 ^ Dmitri Volkogonov, The rise and fall of the Soviet Empire, pp 38-40 ^ Reiman, Michal: Birth of Stalinism, pp.39-40 John Holroyd-Doveton Maxim Litvinov
Maxim Litvinov
p 99 ^ John Holroyd-Doveton, Maxim Litvinov
Maxim Litvinov
pp. 85 &. 99 ^ O’Connor , Timothy: Diplomacy and Revolution, pp. 154-158 & 162 John Holroyd-Doveton, Maxim Litvinov
Maxim Litvinov
pp. 97 & 98 ^ Izvestiya, 8 July 1936, p.2 ^ Roy Medvedev, Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism (London, 1971), p.202, ISBN 0-394-44645-3 Craig Gordon The Diplomats p.375 John Holroyd-Doveton Maxim Litvinov
Maxim Litvinov
p 471


has original text related to this article: Tchitcherin Wants Japan Excluded

Richard K. Debo, "The Making of a Bolshevik: Georgii Chicherin in England 1914-1918," Slavic Review, vol. 25, no. 4 (Dec. 1966), pp. 651–662. In JSTOR. Timothy Edward O'Connor. Diplomacy and Revolution: G.V. Chicherin and Soviet Foreign Affairs, 1918-1930, Ames, Iowa State University Press, 1988.

For Further Reading[edit]

Kurt Rosenbaum, Community of Fate: German-Soviet Diplomatic Relations 1922-1928 (Syracuse University Press, 1965).

Political offices

Preceded by Leon Trotsky People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs 1918–1930 Succeeded by Maxim Litvinov

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Ivan Viskovatyi Vasily and Andrey Shchelkalov Ivan Gramotin Pyotr Tretyakov Almaz Ivanov Afanasy Ordin-Nashchokin Artamon Matveyev Vasily Golitsyn Yemelyan Ukraintsev Lev Naryshkin Fyodor Golovin Peter Shafirov

Russian Empire

Gavrila Golovkin Andrey Osterman Aleksey Tcherkassky Alexey Bestuzhev-Ryumin Mikhailo Vorontsov Nikita I. Panin Ivan Osterman Alexander Bezborodko Fyodor Rostopchin Nikita P. Panin Viktor Kochubey Alexander Vorontsov Adam Jerzy Czartoryski Andrei Budberg Nikolay Rumyantsev Ioannis Kapodistrias Karl Robert Nesselrode Alexander Gorchakov Nikolay Girs Alexei Lobanov-Rostovsky Nikolay Shishkin Mikhail Muravyov Vladimir Lamsdorf Alexander Izvolsky Sergey Sazonov Boris Stürmer Nikolai Pokrovsky

Provisional Government

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Soviet Russia
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Leon Trotsky Georgy Chicherin Maxim Litvinov Vyacheslav Molotov Andrey Vyshinsky Dmitri Shepilov Andrei Gromyko Eduard Shevardnadze Aleksandr Bessmertnykh Boris Pankin Eduard Shevardnadze

Russian Federation

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Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 95224384 LCCN: n50054512 ISNI: 0000 0000 8167 9238 GND: 118666185 SELIBR: 105423 SUDOC: 033698449 BNF: cb12453919s (data) N