Today marks 75 years since the blockade of Leningrad begin. A solemn ceremony took place this morning at Piskaryovskoe memorial cemetery, dedicated to those who did not survive the 900 horrible days. According to different estimates, between 400 thousand and 1.5 million people had died in Leningrad then. Alexander Burenin has this report.
We were very hungry, wanted to eat, 125 g.
I was left all alone, and I was saved.
Our parents said that either we give up or we continue fighting.
The sound of metronome broadcasted on the radio for the residents of the blockaded Leningrad was the symbol of that the war was not yet lost, that they needed to keep on fighting.
Alexander Burenin, reporter: “A string of people moving towards the monument. Moving slowly. Everyone has time to think. Those who were born after those events probably reminisce the stories told to them by their grandfathers and grandmothers, how they survived, how they shared tiny portions of bread, how they left Leningrad under artillery fire on the road of life. 75 years have passed, and there's no family in St. Petersburg untouched by the events of those years.
Every person carries a small bouquet of flowers. The governor of St. Petersburg Georgiy Poltavchenko, members of the government Igor Divinskiy and Alexander Govorunov, the speaker of the Legislative Council Vyacheslav Makarov - all laid flowers by the monument. Due to a large number of people, the ceremony which began at 11 AM lasted for more than an hour. At noon, and memorial placard to residents of Crimea who died liberating Leningrad was opened at the Piskaryovskoe cemetery.
Georgiy Poltavchenko, governor of St. Petersburg: “We, like no other, understand and value the help given at the right time. The help by all people. Because under the walls of Leningrad people from all over our country were fighting. Many died here so that our city and our country prosper today.
Sergey Aksenov, head of Crimea: “It is a huge honor for us, a sign of respect for all people who lived in the Soviet Union, who died protecting the motherland. Today we have 126 people living in Crimea who participated in Leningrad's liberation”
Fascists shelled the city from Pulkovskie Heights, from the Southwest, that's why the most dangerous side of any street - considering the ballistics - was the northeastern one. There were a lot of placards in the besieged Leningrad like the one on building number 14 at Nevskiy Prospekt. Victims of the horrible 900 days were also remembered today by the memorial placard.
Vladimir Kirillov, vice-governor of St. Petersburg: “Leningrad lived under artillery shelling, starving and cold. Residents of the city where courageously fighting the enemy, created, worked and filled the whole country, the whole Soviet Union, with confidence - that they are alive, they are fighting. It helped everyone.
At LenRezerv, an exhibition of military gear was held today, in an attempt to re-create the atmosphere of that time. Blockade bread, a school desk of a child from the besieged Leningrad. The exhibition was observed by the city’s authorities, the head of Crimea, veterans and relatives of those who lived through these events.
Georgiy Poltavchenko, governor of St. Petersburg: “For as long as our city is alive, this day will never be forgotten. 900 days of the horrible blockade, you and your relatives, next of kin, friends defended Leningrad-dying from hunger, cold, artillery shelling. But they did not give up this great city.
Vyacheslav Makarov, speaker of the Legislative Council: “We remember all these things that veterans, those who fought, those who survived did. And while we are alive, we will remember. This is very important for our youth.
Sergey Umnov, head of Interior Ministry Directorate in St. Petersburg and Leningrad region: “Today we are praising the people who survived a very dark path, who defended Leningrad and us. That's why we are here today.
Tonight there will be flowers brought to all memorable places of the blockade Leningrad. And the veterans who today came to the Piskaryovskoe cemetery or Nevskiy Prospekt heard a simple “thank you”. The symbolic sound of the metronome reminded them that they had prevailed in that fight.