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Post-war Leningrad

In true St Petersburg style, Leningrad residents immediately began the hard tasks of rebuilding the city, clearing rubble and of course, burying the dead. With over a million dead, mainly buried in mass graves in what is now the Piskaryovskoe Cemetery, there was a severe need for the city to be repopulated.

By the end of the war, its population stood at just over 600,000, down some three million from 1940, and it wasn’t until 1960 that the population exceeded prewar levels. The centre and most of the inner surrounding areas were slowly repaired, and eventually the outlying areas were lined with concrete apartment blocks.

Piskaryovskoe Cemetery

Piskaryovskoe Cemetery


Despite giving Leningrad the title ‘Hero City’ (to this day proudly displayed on pi Vossta-niya, making it the first thing people see when arriving from Moscow by train) for its role in the war, the city continued its decline in the post-war period. Stalin, as antipathetic towards the city as ever, saw plans by Zhdanov and other city politicians to rejuvenate Leningrad on a massive scale as a waste of time. While other Soviet cities such as Moscow, Stalingrad and Minsk had enormous amounts of money poured into their reconstruction after the holocaust of war, Leningrad was assigned peanuts. Instead of investment, the unfathomably cruel Stalin launched yet another purge on the city, liquidating the very people who had so
heroically saved the city from falling into Hitler’s hands.

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