“Preserving historical memory in order to be able to respond promptly to new threats to the country”
Vladimir Putin intertwines, as he usually does, current events with the history of the country in a new intervention aimed, at a time when a new wave of mobilization and a tightening of the economy are anticipated, to unite the Russians in the face of difficulties, obviously on the model of the Great Patriotic War and the siege of Leningrad which ended in January 1943 (the first supply corridor was opened on 18 January).
The long siege, one of the most tragic chapters in the history of the Soviet Union with about a million civilians dying of starvation, therefore as a model for the days to come. “Historical memory must be preserved in order to be able to respond to emerging threats to the country in a timely manner. And we will do this, diligently and at the state level,” the President summed up, meeting with veterans of the Great Patriotic War, residents of besieged Leningrad and representatives of patriotic associations in St. Petersburg.
According to Putin, much has been forgotten and must therefore be remembered also thanks to the intervention of the institutions. “Perhaps I will say something unusual, but we have a sort of innate protective mechanism that makes us forget everything negative very quickly. The new generations perceive some historical events in order to distort the event itself. To make it clear that this is not the case , we need to deal with it,” he added.
Among other things, Putin anticipated the request for recognition of the genocide of the Soviet people during the war. after having seen, together with the veterans, the trailer of the film Nuremberg, a super production financed, among others, by the Ministry of Culture, with director Nikolai Lebedev, to be released next February. “Perhaps the greatest discovery for me was to understand that at the beginning of the Nuremberg process all the allies, the USSR, the USA, the GB and France, were together and supported each other. And I want this theme to be very clear in the film. It’s better to be together, not divided, even in situations of conflict, it’s better to seek solutions together. And this is especially true today,” the director had declared at the beginning of filming, which resonate today more as hope than as a real possibility.
Putin then called for the revitalization of a Defense and Siege of Leningrad museum. “We have to move along this path, which is the creation of a major national center in this city,” he said. The development of the museum “should take place gradually, without going against the interests of the Ministry of Defence, but using nearby ministry structures”.
In his speech, the President also proposed bringing Soviet classics back into the school curriculum, starting with Aleksandr Fadeev, an author dear to Stalinist propaganda, known for his novel “The Young Guard”, which talks about guerrilla warfare in occupied Ukraine by the Nazis during the war, rewritten on the impulse of the dictator who, starting next year, will be included in compulsory school reading.
Putin then cited, meeting his nephew of the same name, Marshal Leonid Govorov as one of the best military leaders of WWII. In April 1942 he assumed command of the Leningrad Group of Forces and in June he led the entire Leningrad Front. For the operation of breaking the siege Govorov was awarded the Order of Suvorov.
On December 4, 1943 – summarizes the RIA Novosti agency – the Military Council of the Leningrad Front adopted a resolution on the opening of the exhibition “Heroic Defense of Leningrad”. The building of the former Agricultural Museum was chosen as the site. On April 30, 1944, an exhibition opened, at which about 40 thousand exhibits were presented. In 1949, the exposition was visited by over a million people. In October 1945, the exhibit was transformed into the Leningrad Defense Museum. It was the only military museum in the world created during the period of hostilities. At the end of the forties, the management of the museum was accused of distorting historical events, in 1951 the premises were transferred to the military, in 1953 the museum completely ceased to exist. In 1989, the executive committee of the Leningrad City Council decided to recreate the museum within its historic walls, but only one hall was allocated to it, since the rest of the premises were occupied by military institutions.