November 18 - 24, 2018: Issue 384



Aerial view of the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad in St. Petersburg - Courtesy of Wikipaedia

By George Repin

Built during the early 1970s, and completed in 1975, to commemorate the victims of the Siege of Leningrad and its survivors this monument, sometimes called the Victory Monument, is a focal point on Ploshchad Pobedy and is prominently seen by people entering St Petersburg  from the airport or the E-95 highway.

It was designed by Sergei Speransky and Valentine Kamensky, with sculptures executed by Mikhail Anikushin. 

Sculpture of a pilot and sailors.

Sculpture of industrial workers.

Sculpture of casualties in the city.

Sculpture of two defenders side by side.

A 48 m. (157 ft) high obelisk of red granite is near a vast circular enclosure which symbolises the vice-like grip of the siege on the city.

An underpass on Moskovsky Prospect leads to a gloomy subterranean Memorial Hall where solemn music gives way to the persistent beat of a metronome, the wartime radio signal that had been intended to represent the city’s defiant heartbeat.  Lighting is subdued, provided by 900 dim orange lamps, one for each day of the siege.  

The underground Memorial Hall.

On the marble walls are tablets inscribed with the names of 650 Heroes of the Soviet Union who were awarded the title after the war, while, on the far wall, a mosaic depicts the women of the city greeting their returning soldier menfolk at the end of the war.

Around the hall there are small displays of artefacts recording the contributions of different community groups to the war effort. For example there is Dimitri Shostakovich’s violin as a reminder that, at the height of the siege in August 1942, a live performance of his Seventh Symphony was  broadcast to the world from the Great Hall of the Philharmonic in the city – a display of defiance.

A poignant display is a tiny piece of bread showing how small was the daily ration received by many people.

Following the end of the war in Europe the practice arose for a parade to be held on Nevsky Prospect on May 9 (the date Russians regard as the end of World War II  in Europe - not May 8) of survivors of the siege, in their diminishing numbers as the years have gone by.

Ex- service survivors marching on Nevsky Prospect - May 9, 2005.

Surviving civilians marching on Nevsky Prospect - May 9, 2005.

The Siege of Leningrad was a prolonged blockade by the German Army of Leningrad (St Petersburg) which began on 8 September, 1941 when the last road to the city was severed. The siege was not lifted until 27 January, 1944.

It was one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history, and possibly the costliest in casualties suffered. Over one million civilians perished while 300,000 Soviet soldiers died defending the city or attempting to raise the siege. 

(Photographs by George Repin in May, 2005)

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants  Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers  The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia  Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots  Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images  Gardens  Bath St. David's In Wales   Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist  Kraków  Lilianfels  Collonges-La-Rouge  Gingerbread Houses   Cape Sounion   Delos  Wroclaw  Colonial Williamsburg  Gruyères   Strasbourg  Coventry Cathedral  The Roman Theatre at Aspendos  Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto  Rovinj  The City Walls of Dubrovnik Monaco - Snapshots   Bonifacio, Corsica  Autumn in New England USA  The Great Ocean Road  Pompeii  Didyma  Lawrence Hargrave 1850-1915  The Corinth Canal  Malta  Snapshots of Amsterdam Café Central - Vienna  The Forbidden City - Beijing, China  A Ride on the Jungfrau Railway - 1954   Snapshots in the Highlands of Scotland 1954  Must See Sights in Paris - 1954  Corfu  Reflections On the Nineteen Thirties The Gold Souk in Dubai  Stromboli   Ha Long Bay - Vietnam  Lake Argyle The Bungle Bungle Range Langgi Inlet, W.A.  White Cliffs, NSW - 1990  Sturt National Park - May, 1990 A Few Statues and Water Spouts  The Dodecanese Archipelago  Rhodes  Lindos The Church on Spilled Blood - 2005

Copyright George Repin 2018. All Rights Reserved.