I have a bunch of light posts, but as there are serious things going on the East, post will be serious as well. And it will be on time – tomorrow is the 70th aniversary of Liberation of Leningrad from fascist blocade (this is how exactly this event is called here).
(Something to listen to: VII Shostakovich Symphony – it had premiere in Leningrad in 1942)
Blocade of Leningrad is in some aspects similar to Warsaw Uprising. It has ended 7 months before Uprising. As in Uprising it showed heroic attitudes as well as darkest side of human nature (when I am reading strongest part of Metro 2033 universum I always think they read diaries from Blocade). As in Uprisng case historians still argue about sense of people’s and city’s sacrifice during Blocade, and as Uprising Blocade is still present in citizen’s memory. I will not write about Blocade itself, I still don’t know much, I still didn’t finish this book:
I will write about this how Blocade is commemorated. Let’s begin with city decoration. Here is Nevsky Prospect:
Ribbon shown on first photo is popular theme used by many Russians – You can get it in staircase of Your home, You can see it on jackets, women’s bags and car’s antennas. For the Victory Day (9th of May) there is orange – black one called St.George ribbon. Apart from decorations installed probably on whole Nevsky there are flags – flag of city (not visible on photo) and red flag with hammer and sickle. I think it is some historical flag, however logo of communist system is a bit confusing. Well – few days ago I’ve seen woven Stalin in curtain shop so I am not very surprised.
In metro You can see Blocade as well:
Pompous poster and ad of “Ladoga” tv series.
On eastern border of city there is also a monument and museum – well, maybe rather hall of memory. You cannot miss it when going from Estonia – it is just in the middle of enormous traffic circle. To get to the centre of circle You have to use underpass, which is only at one side of it. Ofcourse You can get to the center from the other side but this will remind You about game with frogs that tried to get to other side of the road with many lanes – there are about 5 lanes, no crossing, no traffic lights, and cars are going really fast.
Monument has the shape of circle with the large obelisk above and lot of info on one of the sculptures inside:
Impressive sculptures are on the south side as well (entrance is on north):
I also spent 100 roubles and got inside as well (museum is under monument). But this was not so interesting:
Even the hall makes impression, the exhibition is not making impression at all. There are some flags, quite nice map, some items from Blocade … but there is no emotions.
There is also another Blocade museum in the city – I wasn’t there but watching site and photos I can assume that atmosphere is similar even they have more items and some interesting arrangements.
Russians are making amazing monuments, have a look of these two in Moscow:
But russian museums are really still far away in the past. Leningrad’s Blocade deserves good museum – like Warsaw Uprising Museum, Shnidler’s Factory, Jewish Museum in Berlin or tons of other museums on the West. Ofcourse Blocade is not so easy topic – popculture approach as used in Warsaw Uprisng Museum may be not appropriate. But fe Jewish Musuem shows that difficult things can be presented in intersting, symbolic, emotional way. And money I think is not the problem here – if they can spend 50 bilion USD on Olympics, spending one, small bilion on such place shouldn’t be a problem. (MWU cost 60 milion PLN which is about 20 milion USD, so Olympics can cover … 2500 such museums).
Not everyone agrees that soviet museum are boring. heve a look at this text.
(photos are mine except from first one – owner: RIA Novosti on CC license)