27 January, 04:43

Vladimir Putin to attend 70th anniversary of Leningrad liberation

Vladimir Putin to attend 70th anniversary of Leningrad liberation

Russia's President Vladimir Putin will travel to St Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) on January 27 to attend memorial ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of full liberation of Leningrad from Nazi siege, the Kremlin press service reported.

The Head of State will lay flowers and wreaths at the Piskarevskoye memorial cemetery, where many victims of the siege lie buried, and at the military history memorial complex "Nevsky Pyatachok (bridge-head).

Putin will also tour Russia's first 3D panoramic view of the "Breakthrough" battle of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. The panorama has been set up by a youth search team thanks to a Russian presidential grant.

"Vladimir Putin will talk to participants in the Battle of Leningrad and veterans of the then besieged Leningrad," a press servic official said.

On January 27 evening, the President will attend a first night performance of the ballet "Requiem" devoted to the liberation of the heroic city, at the Alexandrine Theatre. The premiere will be presented by the Ballet Teatre of Boris Eifman together with the "Virtuosi of Moscow" orchestra and the Academic Grand Choir "Masters of Choral Singing".

The ballet consists of two acts, one of which is based on the production staged by Eifman in 1991 to Mozart's music ("Requiem"). The second part is staged after the same-title poem by Anna Akhmatova to Dmitry Shostakovich's music (chamber symphony "In Memory of thr Victims of Fascism and War").

To Lenigrader Vladimir Putin, who was born in 1952, the siege of Leningrad means not just the tragic pages of the country's history. It is associated with highly personal, family history connected with the fate of his parents, with the death of his elder brother, who died of diptheria in the besieged city (Vladimir Putin's another elder brother, born in the 1930s, died in infancy prior to the war).

Putin's mother lived throughout the siege in Leningrad, experiencing all the hardships. "Once, my mother lost consciousness and people around thought that she died. She was even put together with dead bodies. It was fortunate that the mother came to her senses in time and moaned. In general, she stayed alive by a miracle," the President narrated in his book "Ot Pervogo Litsa" (the first-person point of view).

Puitin's father, a serviceman of the 86th rifle division participated in the defence of the city -- on the Nevsky Pyatachok -- in the thick of the "monstrous hack-and- slash". He was heavily wounded by grenade fragments and was placed in a Leningrad hospital where he was sharing his food ration with the wife who was visiting him, thereby saving her from a death from famine, the President pointed out.

Vladimir Putin in his capacity of a statesman repeatedly visited the Nevsky Pyatachok where his father had fought during the war. Putin last visited it in May 2010.

Voice of Russia, ITAR-TASS

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