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A concert marking 75th anniversary of complete liberation of Leningrad from Nazi siege

January 27, 2019, St Petersburg

Vladimir Putin attended a concert titled Listen, Country, this is Leningrad Speaking at the Oktyabrsky Grand Concert Hall.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Dear veterans, friends, fellow city residents,

I congratulate you on the 75th anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the siege.

This will always remain a great event for Leningrad residents, for Russia and for the whole world, as will the 872 days of the dreadful horrendous ordeals the city residents went through. Their sufferings and sacrifices cannot be measured.

We must surely live for today, the present and future, yet the events in Leningrad must not be forgotten. Ever.

There is no forgiving the Nazis who decided to break our unassailable city using cynical attrition, deliberately exterminating hundreds of thousands of civilians. This is what is called a crime against humanity.

Under the enemy’s plan, Leningrad was to be erased from the face of the earth. However, the enemy was not capable of grasping that Leningrad’s residents could not be conquered and that they would never betray their native city, their Fatherland. And this act of high bravery of the besieged residents of the city and their spiritual power serve as the greatest example of loyalty to the Motherland.

Locked in by the siege, under infernal conditions of cold and hunger, Leningrad residents worked and fought on the frontline, in the militia, in factory shops and hospitals, to the deafening rumble of bombings and to the quiet, exhausting clicking of the metronome. They lived with hope, they believed in victory and thought about future generations, about us; they thought about their children and grandchildren; they preserved cultural values and unique monuments for them.

It is our duty to continue passing on to the victors’ great grandchildren the entire heroic truth about besieged Leningrad, our feelings of admiration for the honour and dignity of Leningrad residents and our pain over the hundreds of thousands of victims, for those who rest at Piskaryovskoye, Smolenskoye, and in dozens of other cemeteries and mass graves.

We, and our descendants as well, must do everything possible so that such tragedies never happen again. We must stand up for the memory of everyone who brought victory that much closer, for the memory, which is bequeathed to unite all nations, to call people to peace and justice. And this is why dates like today’s will never be irrelevant or routine for us.

Our deepest gratitude goes to the residents of besieged Leningrad, our fathers and mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers, all those who defended and saved this beautiful city, breaking the siege and driving the enemy back, who fought and won against Nazism with guns in their hands or on the home front.

Happy holiday. I greet you, unconquerable Leningrad residents, on the day of your complete liberation from the enemy’s blockade.

January 27, 2019, St Petersburg