The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1995Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Speech at Kremlin Banquet – 9 May 1995

Below is the transcript of Mr Major’s speech at a banquet given by the Russian President at the Kremlin on 9th May 1995.


Mr President,

We have gathered here in Moscow today for the final European commemoration of the end of the War in Europe 50 years ago.

The British people saw the war through from beginning to end – the commemorations across Britain on Sunday witnessed deep emotions.
Our two countries’ shared endeavour during the war was exemplified in the Arctic convoys, as British forces from all the Services fought alongside their allies to sustain your war effort. The reunion of our veterans in Murmansk and Archangel will have been a moving occasion. In Western Europe the horrors of war gave way to reconciliation and co-operation. Yet Europe stayed divided for over four decades.

Tonight in Moscow we bow our heads to those sacrifices 50 years ago. But we also rejoice that Europe is no longer divided; that a new democratic Russia is reclaiming its European identity; and that at last we are working together to realise the lost opportunities of 1945. This time we have to get it right.

Mr President,

May I propose a toast:

To the memory of those who fell in war that our countries today might live together in peace.