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The Presidential Library tells of the ships raising from the bottom and fairways deepening during the war

3 April 2019

The Presidential Library continues talking about the fate of Leningraders in the framework of a joint campaign with the Petersburg Diary newspaper and Radio Rossiya - St. Petersburg, dedicated to the siege and defence of the city on the Neva River in 1941-1944.

Sergei Ivanovich Brynov (1910–1989) graduated from the diving school of the Expedition of Special Purpose Underwater Operations in Balaclava, worked as a diver on the famous Krasin icebreaker, a diving instructor in the river port of the North-Western Shipping Company and head of the Osinovetsky port diving station.

In the course of the Great Patriotic War he participated in operations to lift flooded transport. Thus during the navigation of 1942, under the leadership of Sergey Brynov, 17 barges with cargo, two steamboats and two floating cranes were raised from the bottom of various reservoirs. In the course of all the military navigation with his participation, more than 70 swimming and transport vehicles were raised, including tanks from the bottom of the Neva and cars from the bottom of Lake Ladoga.

Here is what the Leningradskaya Pravda newspaper wrote about it in the article “10 days under enemy fire” of October 28, 1941: “In the autumn of 1941, diving instructor Sergey Brynov... received from the Defence Staff of Leningrad an order to deliver to the city wooden rafts accumulated opposite Maryino village, 6 km from Shlisselburg, in the Trestyanaya Zavod The city in those days was in dire need of wood, which was used to build fortifications. For this purpose, dwelling houses were dismantled and suburban forests were cut down. The problem was that it was impossible to approach the bus station because the Germans occupied the opposite bank. It remained only at night, trying not to betray his presence, to disperse the rafts with axes and to release them with self-melting. Despite precautions, from time to time the Germans noticed activity on the opposite shore and fired at it. Being in danger for 10 days, the team eventually managed to fuse the wood into the city. Leningrad, thanks to this operation, received more than 25 thousand cubic meters of forest”.   

The Presidential Library’s electronic collection contain a poster “The Road of Life of Alexander Grebenshchikov”. This is a collage using photographs from the archives of the family of Alexander Sergeevich Grebenshchikov, who during the Great Patriotic War led Balttechflot and took part in creating the Road of Life.

“Balttechflot, under the leadership of his tireless chief, Alexander Grebenshchikov, under enemy bombardments, deepens the fairways and approaches to the berths”, - noted Vice-Admiral Viktor Cherokov, commander of the Ladoga Military Flotilla.

Prior to that, there was almost no serious shipping on Ladoga, so we had to urgently carry out dredging. They were executed by Baltechflot. Its ships were the first to open and the last to finish navigation on Ladoga, delivering the most necessary things from the Mainland.

In 1945, A. S. Grebenshchikov was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War and the "Badge of Honor" for the successful fulfillment of special assignments by the Military Council of the Leningrad Front. And even before the war, in 1938, he was awarded the Order of the Red Star for participating in the rescue of the expedition of Ivan Papanin.

Today a tanker is named after him. The life of Alexander Grebenshchikov ended on August 28, 1954. His grandson Boris, born six months before his grandfather's death, later became a famous rock musician.

2,500 documents on the siege and defence of Leningrad, which were received by the Presidential Library since November last year include the story of a submariner with lines from his last letter, a photograph, which allowed more than 70 years later to find out what the Soviet soldier looked like, a message to the past, addressed to the deceased brother, works by Leningrad schoolchildren, written in the harshest winter of 1941/42, a diary that interested the author of The Two Captains by Benjamin Kaverin and others.

With the participation of the Presidential Library in St. Petersburg, the Unified City Information Center, coordinating the coverage of events marking the 75th anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the Nazi siege has been established. The Presidential Library’s portal provides access to a virtual tour of the exhibition halls of the temporarily closed State Museum of Defence and Siege of Leningrad and get familiar with the electronic collection “Defence and Siege of Leningrad”, which includes official documents, periodicals, memories of Leningraders, food cards, photo and newsreels.