President Vladimir Putin: The Great Patriotic War knows very many examples of heroism of the Soviet people and Soviet soldiers and officers, starting from the defence of the Brest fortress. These include the battle for Moscow, for Stalningrad, for the Kursk arc and for many others. But the defence of the besieged and blockaded Leningrad even among this unprecedented heroism is still a special case, because this concerns not just the heroism of our soldiers and officers. It concerns the tragedy and unprecedented victory of the civilian population, of millions of citizens of Leningrad.
It is indeed here, on this patch, that my father fought, so there is also a personal aspect. Although today I do not think we should not talk about this, but about what kind of place it is. It is a small patch of land that is only 3 kilometres wide and 1.5 kilometres long. This place was the ”key“ to besieged Leningrad and place a very important role in the defence of the city and in breaking the blockade.
Here my father really did fight, was seriously injured and then, in hospital in Leningrad, this seemingly tragic circumstance saved the life of my mother, as she was then also in the Leningrad blockade, and as they said, he fed her from his hospital rations. But they could not save their son who fell ill and died in the Leningrad blockade. This was my brother, and I never saw him.
Every family of Leningrad citizens has this relationship to the war. And for me, there is of course a personal dimension.