A new museum has opened in St Petersburg that lets visitors feel the full experience of the Patriotic War.
No corner was cut nor expense spared to create complete accuracy of the events that transpired. The following clip taken from Russian news (with transcript below) features the exhibit and features a visit from President Putin
It’s so quiet here that it’s even possible to hear the snow crunching. The Piskaryovskoye Cemetery is the largest mass grave site of war victims in the world. Vladimir Putin’s older brother lies here. He died during the siege at the age of just two. The approximate place of where his brother’s body is buried was found just some years ago. This happened in millions of Russian families.
“All living, know that we didn’t want to leave and we didn’t. We fought to the bitter end near the dark Neva.”
Here, on the Nevsky Pyatachok, Putin’s father was seriously wounded while defending Leningrad.
“My father fought with yours on the Nevsky Pyatachok. He was the commander.”
Faces that were fire-burnt and frost-bitten at the same time. The newest diorama showing the Leningrad Siege breaking. It looks so realistic that you get chills with each millimeter. Struggle, close combat, bombing, shooting, blood, dirt, snow. And such an important victory, a life-saving Breakthrough.
“Good job, well done!”
He saw it all with his own eyes. The Breakthrough participant Leonid Motorin turns 94 in February. However real it looks in the museum, that horror can be conveyed only partly.
He looks into their faces, it’s impossible to forget his friends’ looks. This is Kostya Nepoklonov, he’s just 21. He was awarded the Order of the Red Star for destroying the enemy’s firing positions. This is Dmitry Stryomin, a regular art teacher. He was defending his home, simply by swimming across the Neva and entering combat with the Nazis. In 1942, he went missing, and nothing was known about him.
Search missions held by Dmitry Poshtarenko helped to find out the truth. He grew up in a house that was built on the site of the bloody battles and, as he says, he would pick up shells together with strawberries in his garden. So, he created this exhibition for young people like him to see history and thus feel it. Documented and real images and deeds.
“Holding arms, they turned towards the enemy. They never retreated. They died holding their arms, in the fight, advancing. It’s such an attitude towards the Motherland, the Fatherland that is in our people’s character.”
The 45-caliber anti-tank gun that the soldiers nicknamed “So long, Motherland.” Because it was just one shot at the tank that they could make before dying.
Dmitry Poshtarenko, the project’s author:
“When our girls were working on the material, they found in the archives Valentin Taraskevich’s photo, taken from the Nevsky Pyatachok, with exactly the same gun. And we broke the plate here exactly this way.”
“The 45-caliber anti-tank gun, “So long, Motherland.”
More than a million Soviet soldiers died fighting for Leningrad. Just think of it, 800 thousand civilians. A deed that we must always remember.
“While a soldier died or was killed in the trench, a sieged worker died standing near his press. Without dropping their hammer, nut key, or chisel. Once we came to a metal factory to pick up rifflers, and the head engineer sent us to uncle Vasya’s storeroom. We came there and saw uncle Vasya leaning on his press. He called him by his name thinking he fell asleep. He came close, but uncle Vasya’s body was cold already. He died standing near his press.”
January 18, 1943, at midday, the troops of the Leningrad and Volkhov fronts joined together. The Siege of Leningrad is over!
Isay Kuzinets, sieged Leningrad resident:
“My mother, a senior lieutenant and a doctor, came to our daycare and brought a cheesecake snack. The one you don’t know, plain, without vanilla, raisins or anything else. It cost 14 kopeikas back then. I’m 78 years old now, but I’m telling you this and can still feel its taste. That’s how I understood that something changed in this city. Now it’s clear that it was the Breakthrough.”
So much has been said about the Siege and the Breakthrough, but new horrible details still emerge.
“I’m deeply convinced that we must use every occasion to put this into remembrance. For us to never forget this. For the whole world to remember. For nothing like this to ever repeat neither in our country nor anywhere else in the world.”
The new movie Rubezh is awaiting its release. It’s about a young cynical businessman hindered by the excavation on the Nevsky Pyatachok. He ends up finding himself in the past, right in the middle of combat.
“Get up! Alyosha! Alyosha! Alyosha, wait! Alyosha!
“I think it’s made with much talent, it’s expressive, and it’s easy to understand. It touches right to the heart, just the way you wanted.”
This exhibition touches to the heart, too. It was first opened four years ago, but it was a small and temporary exposition. Putin then suggested making it larger and permanent.
Vyacheslav Panfilov, veteran:
“The sincerest veteran’s thank you! And restoring the Army is going well! We thought we could never have a good one again. But now, we’re so happy. We rustled it up well Syria! All veterans love you, honestly! With all our hearts. For us, you’re the support that holds Russia without letting anyone manipulate us. We’re now protecting our interests with dignity. We’re following everything, we know everything, thank you! Honesty, thank you!”
Real fighters that are so few now. They have lived a long life and saw quite a lot.
Vyacheslav Panfilov, veteran:
“I wish you luck and all earthly blessings.”
“We, veterans, are always with you.”
“Thank you very much.”
“I wish you health, always stay the same, we’re always behind you.”
“Thank you very much.”
A long year passed between the moment when the Siege was broken and when it was fully lifted. But residents of the city on the Neva already knew and understood that they withstood it all and would definitely win.