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Unique documentary materials about the blockade of Leningrad to enrich the Presidential Library’s collections in the framework of a new large-scale project

12 November 2018

The large-scale project dedicated to preserving the historical memory of the blockade of Leningrad of 1941-1944 has been launched in the Presidential Library. The highlight to preserve and distribute objective information about the blockade was discussed at a round table in the building on Senate Square by representatives of the authorities and clergy, public and youth organizations, veterans and historians, scientists and journalists.   

Acting Director General of the Presidential Library Valentin Sidorin stressed: We are launching a series of events aimed at answering the burning questions: how to tell about the blockade, how to get out a message, how to make a dialogue clear and how to preserve exact information. Today, the blockade becomes a pretext for various speculations and fantasies, but this should not be like this. The Presidential Library, as the largest repository of information of Russian history, is constantly working to make documents about the blockade as accessible as possible, because only on the basis of specific facts one can have an objective understanding of the events of those years”.   

As part of a joint project of the Presidential Library, Radio Rossiya and the Petersburg Diary newspaper, an action was launched to collect historical materials - documents, letters, diaries, photos from the personal archives of the residents of the besieged city. They will be digitized and will be included in the Presidential Library collections and will be available to residents of the whole world and will be widely reflected in the media, will be used while preparing exhibitions, conferences and other events.

“We are starting a very important deal”, - said Vitaly Volkov, director of the State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company “St. Petersburg” - It is only possible to oppose to fabrications and new interpretations of events that occurred in the city during the blockade. In this respect, truth cannot be frightening, convenient or harmful. It is also important that we will be able to use the collected materials in the creation of new feature and documentary films and suggest, above all, to the youth, the true history of the defence of our city”.    

Renata Abdulina, Chairperson of the Committee on Youth Policy and Interaction with NGOs in St. Petersburg, also stressed the importance of this action: “History is studied primarily through books and films, and the project’s goal is to make these books and films absolutely reliable".

“It is today, when the blockade is gradually moving from living memory into history, any evidence is important. Each memory is part of our reality. Only by knowing the spiritual truth and giving an objective and truthful assessment of the past, it is possible to change the present and the future”, - the Bishop of Tstvinsky and Lodeinopolsky Mstislav addressed the participants of the roundtable.

The event was not limited to a lively discussion. It included a presentation of a virtual tour of the museum “Kobona: The Road of Life”, prepared by the Presidential Library in conjunction with the Museum Agency of Leningrad Region. Thanks to the new multimedia product of the Presidential Library, the participants of the round table also passed through the halls of the State Museum of Defence and Siege of Leningrad, which was closed today for major repairs.

The Presidential Library’s e-collections will soon be enriched with new unique materials that will affect overall life of the besieged city. Thus, the first volume of the collection of documents “Shorthand report of the sitting of the executive committee of the Leningrad City Council” will tell about the activities of the authorities during the war. Today, work on it continues, as well as on the publication “Veteran's Diary. True-Life History of War" with the memories of participants in those events. Photos from the St. Petersburg Theater of Musical Comedy will be evidence that in the besieged city, despite incredible difficulties, cultural life continued.

Of course, the blockade diaries are an important documentary material for studying the history. Within the framework of the round table, an agreement was reached on transferring the diary of a 13-year-old Leningrad woman Tanya Vassoevich with drawings and detailed notes about the beginning of the war, preparing the city for defence and other events to the Presidential Library.

Cinematographers also took an active part in the new project: director Maria Popritsak presented the documentary and feature film “Girls”, based on the recollections of women faced with the war at a young age. Screenwriter Dmitry Karalis presented a documentary film “Blockade Blood”, which tells about the feat of Leningraders, who, even being in the enemy ring, helped the front at the expense of their lives.

Today, the Presidential Library portal features electronic collection “Defence and Blockade of Leningrad”, which includes materials dedicated to this most difficult period. Official documents, periodicals, memoirs of Leningraders, ration cards, photo and newsreels, and much more help to look at the events of those days and make your own, based on reliable facts, idea of the courage and heroism of our compatriots.