J. V. Stalin

Speech given at the dinner in honour of the Finish Government Delegation

7 April, 1948

Source : Works, Vol. 16
Publisher : Red Star Press Ltd., London, 1986
Transcription/HTML Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2009
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2009). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

I would like to say a few words about the significance of the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Help between the Soviet Union and Finland, which was signed yesterday.

This treaty signifies a change in the relations between our countries. As it is known, in the course of 150 years of relations between Russia and Finland there has been mutual distrust. The Finns distrusted the Russians, the Russians distrusted the Finns. From the Soviet side there resulted an attempt in the past to break the distrust that stood between the Russians and the Finns. That was at the time that Lenin, in 1917, proclaimed the independence of Finland. From an historical point of view, that was an outstanding act. But sadly the distrust was not thereby broken - the distrust stayed distrust. The result was two wars between us.

I would like us to go over from the long period of mutual distrust in the course of which we went to war with each other twice, to a new period in our relations: the period of mutual trust.

It is necessary that the conclusion of this treaty breaks this distrust and builds a new basis for relations between our peoples and that it signifies a great change in the relations between our countries . towards trust and . friendship.

We want this acknowledged not only by those present in this hall, but also by those outside this hall, as much in Finland as in the Soviet Union.

One must not believe that the distrust, between our peoples can be removed all at once. That is not done so quickly. For a long time there will be remnants of this distrust, for the abolition of which one must work and struggle hard, and to build and strengthen a tradition of mutual friendship between the U.S.S.R. and Finland.

There are treaties that are based upon equality and some that are not. The Soviet-Finnish treaty is a treaty that is based upon equality, it has been concluded on the basis of full equality of the partners.

Many believe that between a big and little nation there cannot be relations which are based on equality. But we Soviet people are of the opinion that such relations can and should exist. We Soviet people are of the opinion that every nation, great or small, has special- qualities that only they have and no other nation possesses. These peculiarities are their contribution, that every nation should contribute, to the common treasure of the culture of the world. In this sense, all nations, big and small, are in the same situation, and’ every nation is as equally important as the next nation.

So the Soviet people are of the opinion that Finland, although a small country, is in this treaty, as equal a partner as the Soviet Union.

You do not find many politicians of the great powers that would regard the small nations as the equals of the larger nations. Most of them look down upon the small nations. They are not disinclined, occasionally, to make a onesided guarantee for a small nation. These politicians do not, in general, conclude treaties which depend on equality, with small nations, as they do not regard small nations as their partners.

I propose a toast to the Soviet-Finnish treaty, and to the change for the better in the relations between our countries that this treaty signifies.

("Pravda," 13 April, 1948)