Dating andrei volosovo
The other reason the siege has been little written about, of course, is that the Soviets made it impossible to do so truthfully. Russians outside the siege ring, let alone Westerners, had only the vaguest idea of conditions inside the city.Soviet news broadcasts admitted ‘hardship’ and ‘shortage’ but never starvation, and Muscovites were amazed and horrified at the accounts privately given them by friends who made it out across Lake Ladoga.
Other modern sieges — those of Madrid and Sarajevo — lasted longer, but none killed even a tenth as many people.Hunger set in almost immediately, and in October police began to report the appearance of emaciated corpses on the streets.Deaths quadrupled in December, peaking in January and February at 100,000 per month.A seagull circling over the gilded needle of the Admiralty spire would have seen the same view as twenty-four years previously: below the choppy grey River Neva, lined by parks and palaces; to the west, where the Neva opens into the sea, the cranes of the naval dockyards; to the north, the zigzag bastions of the Peter and Paul Fortress and grid-like streets of Vasilyevsky Island; to the south, four concentric waterways — the pretty Moika, coolly classical Griboyedov, broad, grand Fontanka and workaday Obvodniy — and two great boulevards, the Izmailovsky and the Nevsky Prospekt, radiating in perfect symmetry past the Warsaw and Moscow railway stations to the factory chimneys of the industrial districts beyond. Outwardly, Leningrad was not much altered; inwardly, it was profoundly changed and traumatised.It is conventional to give the story of the blockade a filmic happy-sad-happy progression: the peace of a midsummer morning shattered by news of invasion, the call to arms, the enemy halted at the gates, descent into cold and starvation, springtime recovery, victory fireworks. Any Leningrader aged thirty or over at the start of the siege had already lived through three wars (the First World War, the Civil War between Bolsheviks and Whites that followed it, and the Winter War with Finland of 1939–40), two famines (the first during the Civil War, the second the collectivisation famine of 1932–3, caused by Stalin’s violent seizure of peasant farms) and two major waves of political terror.
The new, poorly defended border through Poland was overrun almost immediately, and within weeks the panic-stricken Red Army found itself defending the major cities of Russia herself. Immediately pre-war, the city had a population of just over three million.