Young Russians march with period weapons to honor the fallen of Leningrad

by Leningrad survivor Professor Illya Zakharov-Gezekhus, and Dr. David Birch

A comment from a RT article

“Millions of sacrifices, our world Heroes, and the West is still wondering how WW2 was won. Leningrad and Stalingrad should have Museums in all major Capitals of the world, let everybody know who defeated 80-90% of Nazi war machine, and at what costs.”

[ Editor’s Note: We have a special treat for you today, about a sad but great story of suffering of the people of Leningrad during its siege during WWII in 1942, where there were a million deaths just from starvation.

I read a book about the event many years ago. The most memorable part for me was the truck drivers who nightly made the supply runs over Lake Lagoda to literally play Russian Roulette with the German night bombers that would harass them.

It is not every day that we can introduce an eye witness that lived through such an event, this one as a young boy. Dr. Birch graciously contacted us, and we are delighted to share this with you about a people and a city that will never be forgotten, as so many others that suffered by similar tragedies during WWII.

One of the issues that binds VT’s large international network of contributors and sources is our opposition to wars of exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few.  This human disease is still among us, and a pandemic in its own right Jim W. Dean ]

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Leningrad, the city that lived through 30 below zero in the winter

– First published … May 05, 2020

Part I

First, let us have a look at the rather innocent sounding word ‘sanctions’. We hear this word on the news all the time, it would be tempting to think that it is only a theoretical idea that affects those in governments or other important people or organisations.

But let us be clear, sanctions are aimed at the ordinary person and the underlying purpose is to make their lives worse, to cause hardship, inconvenience, health problems, problems with daily ordinary life.

The idea behind this is that the person will feel deep down that it is the fault of their government and that if the government were removed, then their problems would go away and life would be good again. It is a prelude to regime change in a most subtle form. Perhaps some examples will help to explain this.

Sanctions were imposed on Russia after the people of Crimea voted, in a carefully monitored referendum, to become part of Russia again. These sanctions involved, among others, the importation of pharmaceutical products, medicine in other words. A friend in Moscow phoned me in a distressed state. Her regular medicine, properly prescribed by her doctor, had suddenly became subject to sanctions. She had been unable to sleep for three nights as a result of sudden withdrawal.

Another example would be during the Iraq war, Entonox was sanctioned. This is a pain relieving gas that is given to women during childbirth, it eases the pain considerably. This was especially cynical in that the Entonox was said to be a ‘dual use’ chemical, one use being the use in childbirth, the other use stated was that it could be used to make explosives.

Yes, even with a deep chemical knowledge, one also needs a fertile imagination to see how this could be possible, it was just an excuse, a way of making the lives of ordinary people painful and distressing.

Part II

This article is about the Leningrad Blockade during WW2. The Blockade lasted from 1941 to 1943. The idea the Germans had was to absolutely  prevent everything from entering the Blockade, for example medical supplies and especially FOOD.

Daily ration of bread made with a mixture of sawdust and flour. Photo: Elena Latina-Birch
Photo taken in Blockade Museum.

The estimates of how many Russians died of starvation and intense cold vary but figures of over a million are creditable. It seems the Germans were using the ultimate commodity to sanction- FOOD.

Now, let us have a look at the not so innocent word ‘genocide’. The act of the Germans in blockading Leningrad, preventing even food from entering the city and so killing over a million Leningrad citizens is clearly an act of genocide. Genocide by starvation, a devilish trick used  by the Germans.

So, how did life go on in Leningrad? Well it seems that the citizens tried to carry on as normal despite the fact that they were starving and people were dying in the streets and at home. It is worth remembering that it was not only the lack of food but also the lack of fuel for heating. And temperatures in winter could reach as low as minus 30 Celcius. Wood was at a premium for burning, even antique furniture was used, the cold was so desperate.

Teachers continued to teach, some fainting from lack of food in the classroom, Shostakovich continued to compose, an entry in Wikipedia gives a flavour of the conditions under which his work was being performed.

And imagine the psychological brilliance of relaying the  first performance of one of his works on loudspeakers so that the German forces, obviously so close to the city, could hear it. To quote from the Wikipedia article:

Loudspeakers broadcast the performance throughout the city as well as to the German forces in a move of psychological warfare, a “tactical strike against German morale”.  One German soldier recalled how his squadron “listened to the symphony of heroes”. Eliasberg later met with some of the Germans who camped outside Leningrad during the performance, who told him that it had made them believe they would never capture the city:

“Who are we bombing? We will never be able to take Leningrad because the people here are selfless. It also gives a flavour of the Russian spirit.

Another quote from the same Wikipedia article: Critic U.S. Dhuga suggests that this performance “was popularly – and, of course, officially – recognized as the prelude to actual victory over the Germans”. The blockade was breached in early 1943 and ended in 1944. Eliasberg concurred with Dhuga’s assessment, saying that “the whole city had found its humanity … in that moment, we triumphed over the soulless Nazi war machine”.

Photo: The view as one steps out of the train station coming from Moscow. The writing on top of the building translates to ‘Leningrad- Hero City’.
Photo: Birch collection.

Part III

Back to the present time. We were taking the Red Arrow night train from Leningrad to Moscow and there was an interesting person sharing our compartment. It was difficult to make out his age, I later found out that he was 85 years old and was a professor of genetics at Moscow state university.

But what was most interesting was that he was a child in Leningrad during the Blockade and actually escaped the Blockade. Here is his story, I asked him to send it to me, the first version was in Russian, but he supplied a translation into English so this is a story from a person who was actually there, it is important to realise this, there are very few people still alive who experienced the Leningrad Blockade. I

It is first hand knowledge, how rare in today’s World of media manipulation. The translation into English of his account is not perfect but this adds to the flavour.

BESIEGED NOTEBOOK. 1941-1942 by Professor Illya Zakharov-Gezekhus.

Translated from his Russian original by Professpr Illya Zakharov-Gezekhus. 

June 18, 1941 I was 7 years old. We left Leningrad for Peterhof for the summer. My mother worked in Peterhof palaces-museums, and for the summer she was given a small house in the Park of Alexandria.

Modern times, dinner at Hotel Sovietsky, Moscow, the author with Professor Illya Zakharov- Gezekhus.
Photo:Elena Latina-Birch

On my birthday I received gifts, among them — an old aquarium, a stand under it was decorated with horse heads. June 18 was Wednesday; Sunday, 22, in Peterhof was supposed to be a holiday with the illumination of the Grand Palace, it was to be decorated in the evening as it was decorated under the kings. I remember how my mother, who took part in the organization of this holiday, enthusiastically talked about the preparation for it.

The holiday was canceled, the illumination did not take place. 22 June, on the morning, began war.

When my grandfather came to us from Leningrad, it was on the first day of the war or shortly after it began, he said (I remember this conversation) that he, as a doctor, should go to the army. Grandfather was a participant of the Russian-Japanese war of 1905 and four years was on the fronts of the First world war (in 1914-18). Grandmother and mother dissuaded him — he was 61 years old, and health was not very strong. To the front in the war my grandfather did not go, remained in Leningrad and the whole of the blockade worked in the city’s medical officer, combining this work with the service in the clinic of the Tuberculosis Institute.

From the house in Peterhof Park, we returned to the Leningrad apartment; almost until the end of the summer, my mother continued to work in the Peterhof Palace Museum, engaged in the evacuation of its artistic values. In Leningrad we lived in a house on the Palace embankment, near the Hermitage, in a 3-room apartment. Its windows looked out on the Neva river and the courtyard.

The family consisted of my grandfather — a doctor, my grandmother, who was engaged in housekeeping, my mother and me. Before the war mother took on the education of Lialia, a girl (two years older than me) left without parents: her father was shot in 1937, her mother was imprisoned in the GULAG. The situation in Leningrad has changed dramatically in early September 1941.

On 4 September, the city first came under artillery fire; after two days — first a massive bombardment from the air. On 8 September the Germans took the town of Shlisselburg on the Neva river, thus closing the ring around the city, Leningrad was in the blockade (dates here and further in the book: G. L. Sobolev. Leningrad in the struggle for survival in the blockade. v.1. – St. Petersburg: Publishing house of St. Petersburg State University, 2013).

Since September 8, the alarm was announced every day, especially strong raids occurred at night. On the Neva, between the Palace and Trinity bridges opposite our house, there were military and civil ships, at all — anti-aircraft guns. During the raids of German aircraft, the roar was not so much from the explosions of bombs as from the shooting of anti-aircraft guns.

But bombs fell too: in one of the first bombings the house on Palace embankment, in the quarter next to us was completely destroyed. At the announcement of the alarm, we, the children with the grandmother, ran from the apartment to the basement of our house (the entrance to it was under the gate from the yard to the embankment), waiting for the alarm in this dark basement. God was the only hope; it was then that my grandmother began to teach us children to pray: “Our heavenly Father…»

Soon I had to move to a bomb shelter, where I spent about three months. I remember very little (as well as the following months of life in the blocked Leningrad). Perhaps, the famine which has come in the fall of 1941 did not allow to be recorded in memory the impressions. No one in our family kept a diary. I reproach myself that I did not write down the memories of my mother, who had a beautiful memory and lived a long life, she would about many things that I forgot, could tell.

I will cite only a few episodes of our lives during the blockade, those that have survived in my memory.

From the end of September to the end of December I lived in the cellars of the Hermitage and the Winter Palace. There were equipped with air-raid shelters. At first I found myself in the “gas shelter” — a small, well-lit room, adapted to save people in the event of a possible gas attack. How many days (weeks?) I’ve been here — I don’t know.

After that there was a bomb shelter — a large basement with a vaulted ceiling, filled with beds. A lot of people spent the night here — but I can’t remember who I was with; probably my grandmother. In the second half of December, we left the shelter — there were interruptions in lighting, the sewage system was out of order, people living in the shelter began to die.

But — at the same time stopped bombing; later I learned that the Leningrad engineers at this time had established radars, which allowed the notice in advance the rise in the air of German aircraft, and prepare to repel the raid. All winter 1941-42. air bombing practically were not. The Germans were daily artillery shelling. Shells, however, could not destroy multi-storey buildings: shells killed people on the streets. It was safe to be in an apartment on the fourth floor of a five-storey building during the shelling. But — with fall came the hunger and the cold.

I can remember only some pictures of our life from January to June 1942.

The New year came soon after we moved from the shelter to the apartment. Of course, there was no traditional Christmas tree. To somehow create a Christmas atmosphere for children, Christmas decorations were hung on the still green lemon tree growing in the pot. Soon after the New year, the plant dried up and froze.

It was impossible to maintain a livable temperature in the whole apartment, only one, the largest room was heated. In it, apparently, all slept, but I’m not quite sure, I don’t even remember where I slept. The inhabitants of the apartment were: I, the girl Lialia, my mother, grandmother, grandfather and Lialia’s grandmother, moved to us at this time. Mother and grandfather went to work; two grandmothers ran the farm.

In our home we had furnace heating. The furnace required a large amount of firewood, which was not. In a large room was put “bourzhuyka” (since the devastation of 1918-1919 was called small metal stove), its pipe was inserted into the chimney.

What stoked the stove all winter, I don’t know. Burned the grandfather’s desk; burned unnecessary papers. At the same time, our entire large library has been preserved. Obviously, they found some more fuel.

There has been no electricity in the city since December. To illuminate the room in the evenings lit “lamp-smoker”, as we called it. It was a small, stearin-filled cup: a wick was inserted into the stearin. In this “lamp” stearin spent, burned much more slowly than in ordinary candles.

Both water supply and sewerage in all houses of Leningrad froze: in January frosts reached minus thirty degrees, in February and even in March to minus twenty, twenty five (Sobolev, 2013). It was near the Neva; water taken from the river in winter from the hole. I do not know who from our family went for water (which then had to be raised to the fourth floor), probably, my grandmother brought water.

What was done with the sewage — I do not know; probably the bucket poured into the yard manhole. But I remember that the tenants who lived across the yard from us were just pouring the waste out of the window. Frost immediately formed a brown ice icicles that hung under the windows of those apartments, where there were real people, and every day became longer.

If the bombing and shelling killed about 20 thousand people, the hunger in Leningrad killed at least 800 thousand (Sobolev, 2013). Survived stronger physically or spirit, who were able to better organize their lives, finally, find some additional sources of food.

All these circumstances in one way or another helped to survive our whole family in the most difficult time, when the rate of issuance of bread for dependents (two grandmothers) and children (me and Lialia) fell to 125 grams of bread (almost half consisting of surrogates, not flour) per day. Other products at this time were almost not issued.

My mother served in the Management of cultural institutions of Leningrad. This Department was responsible not only for museums, but also for the Zoo. Part of the animals kept in the Zoo, in one of the first bombing was killed, in particular, an elephant. Other animals died, and can be, were taken out from Leningrad.

Anyway, in the Zoo of the remaining stocks of feed, which was distributed to the Management staff. Our modest ration was supplemented with bird food, flax and hemp seeds, from which it was possible to cook porridge. There was also blubber — whale or seal oil, intended for polar bears, but suitable for food and people, although it had a nasty smell.

I remember another story, which should start from afar. My great-grandfather in the XIX century served in some public institution in St. Petersburg. Being a poor man, he, however, wrote from Spain wine. Part of his collection went to his son, my grandfather. After the revolution, he paid most of these bottles with movers who moved furniture from one apartment to another. One bottle survived until 1942.

At some point in a hungry and cold winter grandfather decided to open this bottle (Sherry? Malaga?) and a spoon, for maintaining forces to give everyone — adults and children.

We all lived to see spring. There were one or two more raids in April; then I read that by that time the air defense was already so strong that the loss of their aircraft forced the Germans to abandon the bombing of the city. Artillery shelling continued throughout 1942 and 1943.

We, children, all winter because of cold weather and attacks didn’t leave the house. Only in late April or early May, my mother decided to take us to the Mikhailovsky garden, which was not very far from our house. In this garden we were looking for edible wild plants — dandelions. Their leaves and roots can be eaten. We found very few early spring plants have not yet emerged from the soil, or all that grown up, were already collected by other people of Leningrad who came before us.

This “walk” was remembered to me by the fact that when we walked along the Palace embankment, near the house near Marble lane lay, or rather, half-sat, wrapped in a white sheet corpse — the only corpse that I saw during the blockade. Winter on the streets of Leningrad bodies was a lot.

When the “Road of life” laid on the ice of lake Ladoga (the only way out of the blocked Leningrad) functioned, several hundred thousand Leningrad citizens escaped.

Lake Lagoda – a dangerous trip

In the cold, in open trucks, the journey was hard, deadly. In May, navigation was opened, evacuation began to be carried out through lake Ladoga on small vessels.

My mother decided not to stay in Leningrad, there was no hope for the blockade to be lifted soon. My mother and grandmother, me and the girl Lialia were to leave. In Leningrad remained my grandfather and Lialia’s grandmother.

It was decided that we will go to some village of the Vologda region, someone recommended there some owners in the house at which it would be possible to lodge. Mother and grandmother obviously spent a lot of time and effort to prepare for their departure. It was necessary to collect clothes, including warm, for four people, mother’s dresses which were supposed to be changed for foods, the sewing machine Singer — mother was well able to sew, counted that she will earn additionally as the dressmaker.

All the stuff that was Packed in bales, covered with cloth (don’t know where it was taken). The bales were of such size and weight that they could be carried by women weakened by hunger.

With all these bales, we are in the first half of June reached (don’t remember how) to the Finland station, from there by train to the station near the pier on the shore of lake Ladoga. The pier, landing on a small boat; said that the boat left before us was sunk by German planes. We crossed the lake safely and found ourselves on the other side. Here the evacuees were fed porridge.

Life under the blockade is over for us. It was quite difficult to get to our destination and exist in a very unusual environment. But that’s another story.

In January 1944, the siege of Leningrad was lifted. My mother immediately asked for the required permission to return to Leningrad, and in the first half of June, exactly two years later, we returned to our apartment. By that time, living conditions in Leningrad had become almost normal. There was electricity, water; the ration cards were given and quite a variety of products. I remember the American stew, very tasty, in large Golden jars.

Part IV

So, there we have the story of a lucky survivor, a young boy of 7 or 8 years old. Let us not forget that over a million civilians did not survive. The Leningrad Blockade Historical Museum is now open.

It took me three attempts to visit it, the first, on a Thursday was when the Museum was closed, the second was when it was under restoration, the third was successful.

While the visit to the Museum was most interesting, one of the most poignant and distressing exhibits was the collection of children’s doll from Lake Ladoga, obviously from boats that had been bombed and had sank, together with the children. We could not photograph the dolls.

When the water was not frozen and civilians tried to escape the Blockade by boat, their boats were bombed by the Germans. Russian civilians, children even, in boats being bombed. It was not possible to protect the convoys on the road of Life by anti aircraft guns, the recoil from the guns made them fracture the ice.

Illya told us that he had been evacuated by boat across Lake Ladoga, he also said that the boat in front had been hit by a bomb and sank. Comments are not necessary but remember that fact next time you see columns of destitute and frozen German prisoners being marched from Stalingrad.

Now let us turn to the rather unpleasant concept of historical revisionism. Would it not have been a tribute to the memory of those who did not survive to keep the original name, Leningrad, and not change it to St. Petersburg? The story gets worse, there are those who think that it is time to forget the Leningrad Blockade. The irony is that the criticism comes from a German journalist. It is generally thought that the German track record concerning genocide is not exactly perfect.

Let us not forget that Russia has not asked for any war reparations for the destruction of cites, murder of civilians amounting to genocide, a total of twenty seven million Soviets killed in what the Germans openly called a ‘race war’. A comment from an RT article:

Russia will never forget them. Blood and tears which liberated Europe, only to see today’s West propaganda machine trying to rewrite history. It will never happen, we will remember.

Yes, the West’s propaganda machine…..I remember meeting an American couple close to the Russian Museum in St Petersburg as it is now called.. We were sitting on a bench. He said what an interesting and great country Russia was but what a pity it was ruled by a crazy dictator.

I asked him if he had seen any tanks on the streets, any barbed wire at street corners, any armed police anywhere. I asked him, innocently if the police in the US were armed. He looked confused. His wife looked distinctly uneasy. Crazy dictators? I told him about Napalm, Agent Orange in Vietnam, depleted uranium use in Iraq, the genetic effects upon babies, the millions of innocent civilians killed by his country. It was all news to him. He wanted to know more and wanted to come with us. His wife immediately put the blocks on that. The power of a reactionary woman is daunting.

So what effect did the siege of Leningrad have on the course of World War 2? It is obvious that battles such as at Stalingrad and Kursk broke the Germans’ back. Forget what Hollywood tells you, World war 2 was won on the Eastern Front and won by Russia. I think that Leningrad demonstrated the will and resolve of the Russian people, it was clear that they were not ‘untermenshen’ as the Germans thought. In my opinion, this realisation began the ultimate German defeat. So victory in the Leningrad Blockade was important.

And Leningrad, or St Petersburg as it now called, how is it today? It is a fantastically interesting cultural city but in some quiet streets especially during winter nights there is a certain disquieting feeling, I used to think it was the ghost of Dostoevsky but perhaps it is the spirit of the Blockade victims. Who knows?

Lake Ladoga, obviously from boats that had been bombed and had sank, together with the children. We could not photograph the dolls.

When the water was not frozen and civilians tried to escape the Blockade by boat, their boats were bombed by the Germans. Russian civilians, children even, in boats being bombed. It was not possible to protect the convoys on the road of Life by anti aircraft guns, the recoil from the guns made them fracture the ice. Illya told us that he had been evacuated by boat across Lake Ladoga, he also said that the boat in front had been hit by a bomb and sank. Comments are not necessary but remember that fact next time you see columns of destitute and frozen German prisoners being marched from Stalingrad.

Now let us turn to the rather unpleasant concept of historical revisionism. Would it not have been a tribute to the memory of those who did not survive to keep the original name, Leningrad, and not change it to St. Petersburg? The story gets worse, there are those who think that it is time to forget the Leningrad Blockade. The irony is that the criticism comes from a German journalist. It is generally thought that the German track record concerning genocide is not exactly perfect.

Let us not forget that Russia has not asked for any war reparations for the destruction of cites, murder of civilians amounting to genocide, a total of twenty seven million Soviets killed in what the Germans openly called a ‘race war’.

A comment from an RT article:

Russia will never forget them. Blood and tears which liberated Europe, only to see today’s West propaganda machine trying to rewrite history. It will never happen, we will remember.

Yes, the West’s propaganda machine…..I remember meeting an American couple close to the Russian Museum in St Petersburg as it is now called.. We were sitting on a bench. He said what an interesting and great country Russia was, but what a pity it was ruled by a crazy dictator.

I asked him if he had seen any tanks on the streets, any barbed wire at street corners, any armed police anywhere. I asked him, innocently if the police in the US were armed. He looked confused. His wife looked distinctly uneasy. Crazy dictators? I told him about Napalm, Agent Orange in Vietnam, depleted uranium use in Iraq, the genetic effects upon babies, the millions of innocent civilians killed by his country. It was all news to him. He wanted to know more and wanted to come with us. His wife immediately put the blocks on that. The power of a reactionary woman is daunting.

So what effect did the siege of Leningrad have on the course of World War 2? It is obvious that battles such as at Stalingrad and Kursk broke the Germans’ back. Forget what Hollywood tells you, World war 2 was won on the Eastern Front and won by Russia. I think that Leningrad demonstrated the will and resolve of the Russian people, it was clear that they were not ‘untermenschen’ as the Germans thought. In my opinion, this realisation began the ultimate German defeat. So victory in the Leningrad Blockade was important.

And Leningrad, or St Petersburg as it now called, how is it today? It is a fantastically interesting cultural city, but in some quiet streets especially during winter nights there is a certain disquieting feeling. I used to think it was the ghost of Dostoevsky but perhaps it is the spirit of the Blockade victims. Who knows?

Remember and salute the heroes of the Leningrad Blockade and let us, as human beings, cry with shame that such genocidal mentalities exist today. Food and medicine are still used today as weapons against civilian populations, has Man’kind’ not learnt anything? Need one make comments regarding the sanctions of medical supplies in the age of Coronovirus? The sanctions are not inhuman, they are the Devil’s work.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Stargate: You seem to have forgotten about Stalingrad. After the destruction of Hitler’s sixth army there, the writing was on the wall for Hitler.
    The Russians who dislike Putin are all from a certain faction. The people in general love him.
    Also, you write about the removal of NGOs, well, yes, Russia needs these like a hole in the head. And removing them is like removing weeds from one’s garden. They keep on coming back.

    • If i’m not mistaken, in Stalingrad battle there were more German troops who got their wooden cross over the graves than at the Western front against the US-British allies.

  2. GREAT presentation ! Kudo…

    Sad to see how many Russians dislike Putin and demonize him as being a dictator. They certainly don’t follow the international events on the Internet. Wonder how accurate or bad are RMSM (Russian main stream medias). The lack of Putin’s bad image isn’t that tragic I presume considering how high is Putin’s popularity in election polls and results but… still… the bad reputation many Russians hold against him can surely be put on some outside NGOs that Putin had the great intelligence to expel some years ago. Don’t know how many NGOs are still operating there but, they aren’t praising Putin’s wise foreign politic for sure.

    EVERY sanctions US put on forein countries amount to crime against humanity. The irony of the situation is that the WORLD is accomplice to the deeds since they don’t have the guts and courage to condemn US at the UNSC. Of course, how can you condemn someone who have the power to discard the accusations in the trash bin with a veto pen stroke. But then… WHY NOT in the UNGA ?

    It’s a pity that the world doesn’t give Russia a well deserved recognition in ending WWII.

    About some interrogations of mine, wonder which battle was the worst ? Leningrad or Kursk ?

    Another fact I don’t know how to connect in this article picture is the grudge the Ukrainians hold against the bolsheviks for having starved them to death for I don’t know how long (more or less than a year ?). Please correct my ignorance in that matter.

    • 1. It’s a pity that the world doesn’t give Russia a well deserved recognition in ending WWII.
      – Stargate, frankly, they will have to recognize. They just don’t know about that. We have our Victory and it is enough. It is not for sale.
      2. About some interrogations of mine, wonder which battle was the worst ? Leningrad or Kursk ?
      – Both. For the details you can google it or wikipie – that would be enough.
      3. Ukrainian so-called golodomor (stupid word, hate it)
      – it is one of their brand propaganda. There was femine in different years in my country. But the starving Ukies were not alone. Many regions in Russia and ex-Soviet republics suffered it, too. Ukie nazi (Bandera’s followers) use this Golodomor as black-mail, like: look at us, poor dudes, those damn Russians/bolsheviks/mensheviks/tsar/Stalin/Mark Twain/BarakObama/jews/martians/Marlen Ditrich made us suffer and die from starvation.
      Obviously, there is enough info and statistics about that cases.

      And a cherry on cake: Putin and peasants.
      To my mind, there is a huge problem with legislative system, but the total hell is in the executive. Putin says: we need to do this, this and this. It takes enormous time & efforts to fulfill that. Even with money! Deputees, regional governors, mayors and other big wigs don’t know how to work effectively! People see it and start to mourn: the king is naked. It is easy to find 1 scapegoat than to examine all curvy system. Many Russians never watch foreign media to compare. They prefer parroting the stupid conspiracy vids. It is more easy to blame smb, but not me. And the firestarters, neo-liberals and open traitors on US $ salary start to use hard situations. This is the simpliest and primitive general explanation.

    • Thanks Andy. As per your testimony, I assume two pronged aspect about Putin’s policy as I noticed also in US policy : 1- internal affairs and 2- foreign affairs.

      I conclude from your testimony that what most displeases the Russian people are Russia’s internal policies rather than foreign policies because of the too heavy government apparatchik structure that hinders decisions implementations. Fair enough. I can fathom the frustrations that this situation can generate. I guess it like almost in every country : what matters the most to people is it’s struggle to live their lives, afford eating and dwelt decently and pay their monthly bills. We are all conditioned to apprehend life in a short sighted manner. That’s tragic but… understandable. Is it by design ? or an unintended collateral behavior outcome of social structures/economy ? Hard to decide…

    • @Stargate:
      Absolutely right. If I have no complaints in the foreign policy of the Russian Federation, I can only be proud of my president. But when it comes to domestic politics, all the enthusiasm and triumphant reports go somewhere very far away. Yes, we have huge problems, problems within the country: social, economic. Just few people know about this in the West. Because they do not know the Russian language, and we have little information translated into foreign languages. I’ll briefly say that the extremely unpopular pension reform was the trigger for the great social tension within the Russian Federation. This was the first blow to Putin’s rating. Now, I’m afraid it’s getting worse.
      I have always been a supporter of President Putin and really love my country, history and my people. But what I see now is already too much. I live in the Russian Federation and communicate with a large number of people from different fields. I really, as on the battlefield, see how tension is growing among the population. People are outraged by social inequality, economic injustice, the boorish attitude of officials towards the people, the inability of the state to support people in such difficult moments as now with the virus. And all this saddens my soul. I can’t close my eyes and convince myself that everything is fine.

    • I sympathize greatly with your assessment of Russia’s situation especially because I hold in high contempt French Macron’s pension reform plan, one of the “Gillets jaune’s” main contestation point.

      And you are right, we know NOTHING about internal Russian situation, plight and struggle. All I can say is… I am all with you friend ! Keep courage…

  3. @Cymrocyffredin: our new generation greets the veterans. It is saint thing, too. And today at 22-00 Msk we will have Victory salutes all over the cities. It is a pity that Covid-19 appeared and delays our Parade. But it will be, later, i’m sure!
    Thank you!

  4. Yes, Garry, St. Petersburg is a very beautiful city with extraordinary architecture, palaces and fountains. It is a city of monarchs of Russia. People there are distinguished by culture and character. They survived a terrible blockade, hunger, cold, constant bombing. I worked in this city for 1.5 years. One of the features of our people has always been to eat food to the last bite and leave nothing on the plate. But bread should not be thrown into the trash. You can put it somewhere for birds. People after the war remember the famine. My grandmother (born in 1933) said that they had to eat soup made from beetroot leaves. Food was scarce. There was one pair of dancing shoes and she and her sister wore them in turns for dancing, after the war.
    Their father, my great-grandfather, was a military commissar in the city of Armavir and they, together with Marshal Zhukov, studied there at the school of commissars before the war. Then Zhukov was not yet such a famous commander.
    And the other grandfather did not return from the war .. He burned down alive in a tank at the Battle of Kursk.
    I could have 2 more grannies (sisters of my granny Sofia), but they are at cemetery. Kids. 4 and 6 years. During the occupation of Armavir by fascists.
    Each family had a grief of loss.

  5. Thank you for enjoying the article. Yes you are correct, Veterans Worldwide should come together and tell the truth to the younger generation. Fantastic that some young servicemen had their own ‘Victory Parade’ this morning.
    David.

  6. Couldn’t hold tears, reading this article. This is why the 9th of May, the Great Victory Day is the Most Important Sacred Holiday we have – the Holiday with tears in the eyes as we say.
    Dear Mr. Dean, Jim, – great great Thank You!

    • Thanks Andy, but I am the layout, presentation guy, plus I have a talent for spotting good talent when it knocks on the door. From the newest reader to our most valuable person (Gordon), VT is a long chain of knowledge, hopes and aspirations, bitterness and anger, determination, loyalty to things and people that deserve it, and disdain for the scum of the earth that is polluting the planet. The presentation is just another example of VT growing, getting stronger, and hopefully more able to survive when those running the show now are no longer around, something we worry about all the time. In that regard, we try to stay as healthy was we can, which includes yours truly closely following all the current life extension research, which by the end of the decade could very well add about ten years for people with the discipline to do the right things.

    • My wife was in tears as she was reading the Leningrad article. She is Russian, how deeply educated and how incredibly patriotic these people are. Napoleon and Hitler had to find this out the hard way. David.

    • ‘Most Important Sacred Holiday’. Yes, the West just simply does not understand. We are preparing an article about the Immortal Regiment, this display of loyalty and patriotism is something that would be mindblowing to the average person from the West . And one has to be grateful to Veterans Today for being a platform to display issues that most media simply would not be prepared to go near. David.

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