How did Russians commemorate the 80th anniversary since the start of the Leningrad Siege?
On September 8th 1941, the blockade of Leningrad began, when the ring of Nazi German troops and their allies around the city was closed. The blockade lasted 872 days, and sources vary but somewhere between 400,000 to 1,500,000 people died. Nazi Germany planned for the entire population of the city (2.5 million people), to die from hunger and cold, aiming to completely wipe Leningrad out. During this period, 150 shells were fired in the city, and over 100 bombs were dropped. Survivors recount the painful rationing system; at its worst, two thirds of the population received as little as 125 grams of bread per day, with bread being more valuable than gold. The blockade ring was eventually broken in January 1943, and Leningrad was awarded the title of Hero City, for the massive heroism and courage which the defenders of the city showed.
September 8th 2021: 80th anniversary
Last Wednesday (08/09/2021), marked 80 years since the day this began, and on this day events took place across St. Petersburg in memory of the defenders of Leningrad. People brought flowers to a symbolic spot on Nevsky Prospekt, where a preserved inscription can be found – it reads: “Citizens! During artillery fire this side of the street is the more dangerous one”. Flowers and wreaths were also placed at the Piskarevskoye cemetery, where 70,000 soldiers and 420,000 civilians were buried in mass graves during the years of the blockade. At noon, a minute’s silence was also held across the city to commemorate the day.
A virtual tour around the cruiser Aurora is also now available, in dedication to the anniversary, and can be found here:https://www.prlib.ru/3d-tur-po-muzeyu-kreyser-avrora. The Aurora was moored at a pier in the Oranienbaum port throughout the Leningrad siege period, and constantly shelled and bombed.
There are also many museums and sites across St. Petersburg which aim to commemorate the blockade. Here is some information about two of the most famous places where you can discover more about this period.
- In Ploshchad Pobedy (Victory Square), you can see The Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad, built in the early 1970s to commemorate the heroic efforts of the residents and soldiers of Leningrad against the Nazis.
- The Museum of the Defense and The Siege of Leningrad (currently closed for repairs), which opened in January 1946, is the only establishment completely devoted to the history of Leningrad fight during the Second World War. Here, you can see documents and personal belongings from the period, which demonstrate the courage and activities of the residents who defended the city.
Alice, currently studying at Liden & Denz St Petersburg