Iosif Stalin, Speech at the Reception in the Kremlin in Honour of the Commanders of the Red Army Troops to Celebrate Victory over Germany. May 24, 1945
This speech in the Kremlin elicited great pride amongst Russians, and set the tone for the Russo-centric policies of the post-war years, with Moscow at the center of Russia.
Original Source: I. V. Stalin, On the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union (Moscow, 1946), pp. 196-97.
I would like to raise a toast to the health of our Soviet people and, before all, the Russian people.
I drink, before all, to the health of the Russian people, because in this war they earned general recognition as the leading force of the Soviet Union among all the nationalities of our country.
I raise a toast to the health of the Russian people not only because they are the leading people, but also because they have a clear mind, a steadfast character, and endurance.
Our government made more than a few mistakes; at times we were in a desperate situation, when our army fell back… because there was no other escape. Another people might have said to the Government: you have not justified our expectations; go away; we will set up another government, that will make peace with Germany and secure us tranquillity. But the Russian people did not come to this; they believed in the correctness of their government’s policy and made sacrifices, to ensure the defeat of Germany. And this trust of the Russian people in the Soviet Government was the decisive strength, which secured the historic victory over the enemy of humanity, — over fascism.
Thanks to them, to the Russian people, for that trust!
To the health of the Russian people!