January 27 marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of St. Petersburg toward the end of the Second World War. For nearly 900 days, the city - known as Leningrad in Soviet times - was besieged and bombed by German troops. To avoid having to provide the population with food, Hitler gave the order for the city not to be captured, but instead, blockaded. Around 649,000 people died - 632,253 of them from hunger and cold, according to figures presented during the Nuremberg Trials. Since then, the number of victims has been revised upwards to as many as 1.5 million. Today the Siege of Leningrad is recognized as one of the worst war crimes carried out by the Nazis.
On the siege's anniversary, the Moscow TV channel "Dozhd," also known as TV Rain, conducted an online poll, asking whether the Soviets should have surrendered Leningrad to the Germans in order to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Fifty four percent of respondents said "yes." The survey sparked an outcry, with several providers opting to drop the channel. The St. Petersburg Prosecutor's Office is reviewing whether the channel went too far.They also report on things like the street demonstrations in Ukraine and the wealth accumulated by members of the Duma.
...the Russian Parliament had already jumped on the case. "What we saw on Dozhd's website is a direct insult to the sacred memory of war, and those who died during the siege," wrote Irina Yarovaya, a member of parliament from the ruling United Russia party. "Such acts should be seen as crimes attempting to rehabilitate Nazism."
The Communists and members of the Liberal Democratic Party in the State Duma also strongly criticized the poll. But among ordinary Russians, any attempt to shake the myth of the Second World War is also seen as blasphemy.Old habits die hard.