Molotov on Mao

“How did you like Mao Tse-tung?

He offered us tea. And he talked about meeting Stalin and when it would be convenient….Stalin hadn’t received him for some days after he arrived. Stalin told me, “Go and see what sort of fellow he is.” He stayed at Stalin’s dacha Blizhniya.

I talked with Mao and then suggested to Stalin that he receive him. He was a clever man, a peasant leader, a kind of Chinese Pugachev. He was far from a Marxist, of course–he confessed to me that he had never read Marx’s Das Kapital.

Only heroes could read Das Kapital. When I was in Mongolia talking with the Chinese ambassador–he was nice to me–I said, “You want to create a metals industry quickly, but the measures you have planned–backyard blast furnaces–are improbable and won’t work.” I criticized the Chinese, and our people reproved me later. But it was such obvious stupidity!…Backyard blast furnaces to produce worthless metals–nonsense.”

– Felix Chuev, “Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics” (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1993), p. 81.

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