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Putin Pays Tribute to Siege of Leningrad Victims

Published: January 28, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • A ceremony Monday marked 70 years since the end of Nazi Germany’s siege of Leningrad, now St. Petersburg.
    Photo: Igor Tabakov / SPT

President Vladimir Putin paid tribute to victims of the Siege of Leningrad on Monday in St. Petersburg and spoke to survivors who said that the name for the celebrations marking the end of the blockade should be changed.

Putin attended a ceremony at the Piskaryovskoye cemetery in St. Petersburg, which was called Leningrad during the Soviet era, on the 70th anniversary of the devastating World War II siege being lifted.

He laid a wreath at the Motherland monument and also honored his older brother, who died in childhood during the siege and is interred in a mass grave at the cemetery, the Kremlin said in a statement.

During a meeting with Putin on Monday, siege survivors complained that the name for the celebration — "the complete liberation of Leningrad from the Nazi blockade by Soviet troops" — completely neglects the role played by the city's people, Interfax reported.

You may also be interested in: City Remembers Siege of Leningrad

Putin agreed, saying that the Red Army "without a doubt made a decisive contribution to the defense and eventual liberation of Leningrad," but that "without the civilian population...we would hardly have been able to achieve this victory."

"Without those who worked on the erection of the defensive lines, without those who worked in the factories, without volunteers and units that were formed by the citizens of Leningrad, I know this from my own family history, without these people victory would have been impossible, this is obvious. And this name — it really dilutes some of this," the Putin said.

Putin, who was born in St. Petersburg, called for the city's legislative assembly to rename the anniversary and, if necessary, to elevate the proposal to federal level.

On Sept. 8, 1941, the German army cut Leningrad off from Russian lines. The city's residents struggled for almost 900 days as Adolf Hitler's troops attempted to starve them into submission. On Jan. 18, 1943, the first ray of hope appeared, when the Red Army established a single supply line to the city. Still, the blockade was not fully lifted until Jan. 27, 1944, by which time about 750,000 civilians had died.





 


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Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.