Throughout the four days we’ve been here, it’s clear that no matter what differing views Russians have on previous leaders they all agree that their involvement in the Great Patriotic War is something to be remembered. Both cities, Moscow and St Petersburg are essentially built on the history of the war which is seen through a huge statue of Marshall Zhukov in Moscow and the heroic defenders of Leningrad monument in St Petersburg.
A visit to the Red Army museum in Moscow on Saturday showed how successful the Russians felt even after their tremendous losses. After enduring a talk that took a little bit too long on the battle of Leningrad, we made our way to a room about the same size as central square- minus the canteen of course- that was filled with artefacts from the Soviet victory over Germany. It was pretty clear from the size of the room alone, that this was a huge moment for the Russians. The same was seen over in St Petersburg.
Not only did the memorial in Leningrad have 900 candle like lights in the shape of shells to commemorate each day of the siege, it also portrayed the roles of everyday civilians in fighting against the Nazis. These people weren’t army trained, endured starvation but still never backed down. The heroic defenders of Leningrad monument showed that the Russians understood the great sacrifice and heroics that went into fighting this battle.
The Great Patriotic War. Russia’s proudest moment.
By Rebekah, Esther and Gulfidan