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Georgiy Chicherin
Георгий Чичерин
Photo of Chicherin
People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the RSFSR
in office:
April 9, 1918 -
Premier Vladimir Lenin
Predecessor Leon Trotsky
Successor None; office abolished
Personal Information
Born November 24, 1872
Tambov province, Russian Empire
Nationality Soviet
Ethnicity Russian
Political party Communist
Occupation Civil servant; diplomat

Georgy Vasilyevich Chicherin (Георгий Васильевич Чичерин) was a Marxist revolutionary and a Bolshevik politician.


A distant relative of Aleksandr Pushkin, Georgiy Chicherin was born in an old noble family. His father, Vasily 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, two passions which 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. After graduating from 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 until 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 new-found fortune to support revolutionary activities during the 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 Social Democrats and was active in emigre politics.

During the Great War, he took part in pacifist and relief activities in London. After the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, the British arrested him and, in exchange for their ambassador, Sir George Buchanan, released him on January 3, 1918. Chicherin returned to Russia and joined the Bolshevik Party. He then resumed his diplomatic career, participating in the final stage of negotiating the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty with Germany and subsequently becoming people’s commissar for foreign affairs.

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