William Vasilyevich Pokhlyobkin (August 20, 1923 – April 15 (burial date), 2000) (Russian: ? , Viliyam Vasilievich Pokhlyobkin) was the foremost expert on the history of Russian cuisine and the author of numerous culinary books. His A History of Vodka has been translated into a number of languages, including English. Pokhlyobkin was also an expert in the history of the diplomacy and international relations of Russia, as well as a geographer and a journalist.
William Pokhlyobkin was born to Russian revolutionary Vasili Mikhailov ( ? ?). "Pokhlyobkin" was Mikhailov's underground nickname, derived from the word "pokhlebka" or stew. Vasili named his son after Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (VIL is an acronym which turned into William).
He took part in the German-Soviet War as a private. After his discharge from service, he studied at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations from 1945-1949, and later did postgraduate courses in the Institute of History of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He became a Kandidat of Historical Sciences and a research member in the Institute of History in 1953. He founded the journal Scandinavian Collection ("? ?") and was its chief editor from 1955-1961. He was later a member of the editorial collegium of the journal Scandinavica.
In 1968 he was labeled a dissident because his book on tea was popular in dissident circles. He was barred from publication, thus was unable to finish his doctoral dissertation, and had to concentrate on his culinary hobby.
He was the author of over 50 books and a large number of articles. For a long time his books remained unpublished, and most of them were printed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Printed simultaneously in large numbers they gave rise to speculation that "Pokhlyobkin" was a pen name of a whole artel of writers.
Pokhlyobkin was found murdered in his apartment, in Podolsk somewhere between March 27 and 31, 2000. His dead body was uncovered by the chief editor of the Polyfakt publishing house, who was worried about the delay of the book Cuisine of the Century and came from Moscow to Podolsk to see Pokhlyobkin. A large number of his books on Scandinavian topics remain unpublished.
It has been emphasized by different authors that books by Pokhlyobkin contain a large number of basic mistakes, including wrong concepts and invented facts.