Now and Then - Nevsky prospekt and painter Pakulin

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Nevsky prospekt siege Leningrad St. Petersburg artist Pakulin wwii Russia USSR
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Prospekt of the 25th of October, Leningrad. January 1942 / Nevsky prospekt, St. Perersburg, April 2021

Artist Vyacheslav Pakulin painting a view of the main street of Leningrad.

From the diary of Chekrizov Vladimir Fyodorovich. Ship construction engineer at "Sudomekh" shipyard.

Diary entry from January 12, 1942:

"It's been very cold for 4 days - 30°C. Heavy frost is exacerbating the starvation of Leningraders. The people are freezing. There's no fuel for the stoves. The day before I was coming back from [supply and repair ship] "Smolny". At Krasnaya street I heard a faint voice: "Help me stand up". I followed his voice and found him. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to lift him alone and asked a couple of people who passed by, but tough luck, they walked away without stopping. I helped him myself, led him to the middle of the street. The lad was tall but incredibly light. Even I, in my current condition, could easily lift him.

My work s definitely not going well. The people are weak. They can barely work for an hour or two. Then they go to the factory to have lunch. It takes them 2,5 hours or even longer. They come back after lunch, but they aren't of much use. I've recovered somewhat. I got back to life, started walking faster. The fat that Anatoly Alexandrovich gave me definitely helped.

We haven't received all food rations for December yet. The situation is extremely dire. The numbers of the dying have increased. Out of those who gets into the factory's hospital, 2-4 men die daily. How many of them die at home? About 50% of all workers either don't walk at all or come to the factory to eat only.

We've reached the limit of exhaustion. Yesterday my metalworker told me that there are 2 corpses lying in his apartments. Nobody takes them out. The people who live there are too weak for that. The house maintenance service doesn't do its job either.

The city has frozen. Trams haven't been running for a month. I went to the Nevsky prospekt, the trolley buses are stuck at the same spots where they were caught by the blackout. The rails have been buried under the snow. I saw the rails being cleaned at the 3rd of July street, evidently they are going to launch a tram there. The other streets are being cleaned from massive snowdrifts. They are coping with this rather well. On the streets one can see people with buckets, pots and other kitchenware, they carry water from the houses where the pipes haven't frozen yet. There are few such houses left. Oh, well. Did we even imagine 4-5 months ago we would end up in a sorry state like this?

Just the suffering of Leningraders alone (not even counting the rest) would merit the extermination of all Fascists to the last man, so that they would die in great torment. But how much more have they done? Molotov's note is the document which details all the horror of the German occupation of our territory. Barbarians, wild beasts who pretend they are the "master race"!

 

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painting ww2 russia petersburg leningrad war nevsky prospekt

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