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  • During the first 12 months of the siege of Leningrad, more than half the city's population – between 400,000 and 1.5 million people – died, mostly from starvation.

    During the first 12 months of the siege of Leningrad, more than half the city's population – between 400,000 and 1.5 million people – died, mostly from starvation. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Published 27 January 2018

The city of St. Petersburg, known as Leningrad until the name was changed back in 1991, is celebrating the Soviets' victory over the devastating Nazi siege.

Russian activists have launched a campaign commemorating victims of the Leningrad blockade timed to coincide with January 27, which marks 74 years since Soviet forces ended the devastating Nazi military blockade during World War II.

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"The Postcard of Memory" celebrations were held Saturday in 45 regions across Russia, with flyers distributed among the crowds to raise awareness of one of the longest and most deadly sieges in history.

Activists also constructed installations in shopping malls, entertainment centers, museums, supermarkets and railway stations with signs reading: "Blockade of Leningrad. Numbers. Think about it."

The city of St. Petersburg, known as Leningrad until the name was changed back in 1991, celebrated the Soviets' victory with a display of fireworks on Friday.

The city was besieged by German, Finnish and Spanish troops for four years beginning September 8, 1941, when the Nazis launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union.

During the first 12 months of the siege, more than half the city's population – estimated at between 400,000 and 1.5 million people – died, mostly from starvation. Food and municipal heating were cut off as temperatures plummeted to -30 degrees.

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