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Museum in educational labor colony


It will be also used for holding lectures.

A museum dedicated to the defense of Leningrad during WW2 has been opened in the educational labour colony in Kolpino in St. Petersburg. Almost all of the exhibits were made by the inmates. In future, the space will be also used to hold lectures. Alexander Odintsov tells.

The museum is quite small, but is based on the same principles as large-scale expositions. The main difference is that it was created not by professional artists and museum staff, but by the inmates of a penitentiary establishment. Most of them are under 18.

Ilya Petrov was released from the colony at the end of last year. He made the German tank with a jigsaw and painted the dugouts. This part of the exposition took almost six months to create.

Ilya Petrov, explains why he took part in the museum project: ‘To do something, to have some occupation. I was the only one who could paint. I made the tank, too.’

War searchers helped the colony inmates with the museum and told them about the defense of Kolpino.

Alexey Kolodeznikov, head of the Front Line search team, tells: ‘When the Germans were coming close, people were still building these defense structures. The Izhora battalion consisted of workers who had no military experience, they were sent to these defensive lines. And they were able to stop the Nazi offensive.’

Anatoly Makhanko, chief of the Kolpino colony, believes: ‘First of all, it is an opportunity to make something with their hands and learn something new, like whittling. And they were learning about the history of the war.’

Now that the museum has been opened it will be also used as a lecture room. There are two colonies for teenage criminals in Northwest Russia, one of them is in Arkhangelsk and the other here in Kolpino. At present, there are 30 inmates here, from St. Petersburg, Leningrad Oblast and other places.

Svetlana Agapitova, St. Petersburg Child Ombudsman, is sure: ‘They should live a normal life. And it is important that caring people should come to the colony and show the kids other life models than those they are used to.’

Photo and video: St. Petersburg TV channel