Russia marked the 80th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad, which was a major turning point in World War II and a symbol of patriotism most held by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the height of his troops’ attack on Ukraine. The celebration ceremony comes at a time of fierce fighting between Russian troops and Ukrainian soldiers in the former Soviet Union, which has been at war for almost a year as a result of an invasion initiated by the Kremlin to “demilitarize”. and “denazify” Ukraine.
The Battle of Stalingrad (1942-1943) is one of the bloodiest battles in history, in which almost two million people died on both sides. This battle changed the course of the conflict in the Soviet Union, which had previously witnessed a series of defeats, and Russia still celebrates the memory of this battle, considering it the event that saved Europe from Nazism.
Victory in this battle is of great symbolic importance, especially as the first anniversary of the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 approaches, when Moscow began to step up its movements after the recent capture of the city of Solidar in eastern Ukraine. , the first victory of their troops in many months of field defeats.
Putin has always compared resistance to Nazism to an attack on Ukraine, and he said on Friday about the commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust: “Forgetting the lessons of history leads to the repetition of terrible tragedies,” adding: “This is confirmed by crimes against civilians, ethnic cleansing and punitive measures organized by neo-Nazis.” in Ukraine”.
In the city of Volgograd, where about a million people live on the banks of the Volga, the past Wednesday and Thursday were declared holidays, and on the eve of the eightieth anniversary of the victory in Stalingrad, the inauguration of the bust of Stalin took place in the city, along with two statues of Georgy Zhukov and Alexander Vasilevsky, two military leaders known for their role in the battle.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian authorities had an ambivalent attitude towards Stalin: despite official revelations of state terror, which he organized in the 1930s until his death in 1953, he is still buried in front of the Kremlin on Red Square. and many Russians revere Stalin and emphasize his role in Germany’s victory over Nazism against the Soviet Union.
The Battle of Stalingrad, which began in July 1942, lasted 200 days and nights, and the city turned into ruins became the scene of devastating German aerial bombardments and fierce street fighting.
On February 2, the troops of German Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrendered, surrounded by the Red Army, which was the first capitulation of the Nazi army since the beginning of the war.
Stalingrad was completely rebuilt on the orders of the Soviet authorities and its name was changed to Volgograd in 1961, eight years after the death of Joseph Stalin.