1,000s of fireworks light up skies of St. Petersburg concluding Leningrad Siege commemoration Residents of St. Petersburg witnessed a stunning fireworks display that concluded a series of commemorative events to mark 75 years since the end of the Nazi Siege of Leningrad on Sunday.
The dazzling show, featuring more than 3,000 salvos, started at 9pm Moscow time. It completely replicated the original fireworks display of 1944 which marked the end of the siege. The display was accompanied by Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, dedicated to the besieged city of Leningrad.
As a part of the commemoration, troops and heavy armor paraded through the iconic Palace Square in St. Petersburg. Despite freezing temperatures and a snowstorm, thousands of people gathered at Palace Square and the city center to take part in the events and pay tribute to the victims.
The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest and most lethal sieges in history. It started on September 8, 1941, when the German-led forces surrounded the city.
Leningrad’s capture was one of three strategic goals in Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, motivated by the city’s political status as the former capital of Russia as well as its military importance. Hitler’s plan was to utterly destroy the city and its population through bombing and starvation.
The horrific siege lasted 872 days. The city’s civilian population of almost three million refused to surrender or flee in panic and endured extreme famine, as all major supply lines were cut off by Nazi troops. Around 1 million people lost their lives due to starvation and bombardment – with some historians putting the number as high as 1.5 million.