via The Drink Business

World War II was a crucial event for the whole planet (hence the title), but for the Soviets, it was a matter of honor. They also named it different.

What Caused World War II? Causes And Events

In Russia, it was called The Great Patriotic War, that’s how important it was for them. So it is not a surprise that when they heard through the radio on May 9, 1945, that Nazi Germany had signed their surrender, citizens of the Soviet Union ran to the streets in jubilation.

It was the start of a celebration that may have been short, but it surely was intense. In fact, it was so intense that they ran out of “celebration supplies”.


Victory Drink-Off

via Urban Adventures

It was 1 AM when they announced that not only the war was over but also that the Soviets, along with the other Allies, had won the war over the Nazis.

People took the streets in pajamas and hugged and wept in happiness. In wartime, vodka production was decimated but not terminated, so vodka supplies were short, but that didn’t prevent the Soviets to open up their bottles and start to drink to honor their victory.

Even those who didn’t drink succumbed to the excitement of victory and took a shot or two. Around 22 hours later, when Joseph Stalin addressed the nation to talk about the victory, the population had drunk all the vodka reserves in the country.

Naval navigator Nikolai Kryuchov remembered how Soviets celebrated with their families and how “they drank for victory, for those who did not live to see this day and for the fact that this bloody massacre would never be repeated”. If you were in Moscow on May 10, 1945, it would be impossible to buy a bottle of vodka, they simply drank it all.

It is fair to say that, by that time, and in a war economy, the vodka supplies were not as prominent as they were in Russia. Even though the production of vodka did never stop completely, most parts of the starch and grain were used to produce food and supply the army. Despite the low production of vodka, as they ensured its production, vodka revenues in that period provided approximately one-fifth of government revenues in total.

Vodka was (and still is) such an important part of Soviet culture, that in July 1941 the Red Army started giving vodka to soldiers, calling it “the commissar’s ration”. There was some rejection of that decision, but the fact is that it did no harm at all. If only, it allowed many of those soldiers and their families to celebrate on that day of joy and celebration.