World War II: Siege of Leningrad

World War II: Siege of Leningrad

The Siege of Leningrad started on 8 September 1941 and lasted for 872 days until the 27 January 1944. It was the most destructive siege in history.


Leningrad (St. Petersburg) was the 2nd largest city in the USSR and is the 2nd largest city in Russia today. In 1941 its’ population was around 3 million, while Moscow had around 4 million inhabitants and Stalingrad was around 500.000. While both battles, the Battle of Moscow and the Battle of Stalingrad were truly bloody, the Siege of Leningrad was something like a combination of these two. Leningrad had almost the population of the Moscow (Moscow was not under siege and suffered a relatively small amount of direct damage) and was encircled like Stalingrad (maybe even worse). That led to the suffering of defenders and the civilian population without precedent.

Copyright© 1944 Post of the USSR. All Rights Reserved.


part of the “Cities Heroes of World War II”

series includes Odessa, Sevastopol, Leningrad, and Stalingrad

“Defense of Leningrad and medal”

Denomination: 30 kopeks

Hitler’s plan

Following the concept of Lebensraum, Nazi Germany planned to conquer a large amount of territory belonging to the USSR. They had not much interest in keeping the current population alive, except using it as a slave labor force. That was the plan for Leningrad too. Destroying the city and extermination of the complete population. To avoid casualties, the plan was to blockade the city and bombard it and wait that winter and hunger do the whole job. So yes, the original plan was the genocide without precedent (at least in the amount of civilian lives).

Siege of Leningrad

The siege started on 8 September 1941 and was the result of many defeats Red Army suffered until that time. Leningrad was more than just one city. Being the second largest city in the USSR and bearing the name of Lenin had many significances. Besides that, it was the symbolic capital of the Russian Revolution and the important industry center (around 11% of the complete industry of the USSR). The siege lasted for 872 days and took around 4 million casualties on both sides.

Copyright© 1963 Post of the USSR. All Rights Reserved.


part of the “Second World War”

series includes “Defense of Leningrad, 1942”, “Battle of the Volga”, “Liberation of Kiev, 1943”

“Defense of Leningrad, 1942”

Denomination: 4 kopeks

The suffering of the civilian population was extreme. Hundreds of thousands died of freezing and famine. Undisclosed NKVD archives are also telling the story of cannibalism even within the same family.

Ice “Road of Life” or “The Ice Road”

While encirclement was almost complete, with Finnish forces on the north and Nazi Germany forces elsewhere, there was a corridor that was used to deliver supplies and evacuate wounded and civilians. That was the Lake Ladoga. During warmer months, watercrafts were used and while the lake was frozen vehicles were driven over the ice.

Copyright© 1967 Post of the USSR. All Rights Reserved.


Ice “Road of Life”

Denomination: 4 kopeks

The siege produced a number of war heroes and the Leningrad alone had been awarded the title of the Hero City. Actually, it was the first city in the USSR to receive this honor (together with the Order of Lenin and the Gold Star medal in 1945).

While geopolitical result of the war could be discussed, for civilians, wars produce less or more suffering. We can only hope that battles like this will remain only in the past.

Continue reading: Science Fiction on Stamps: Big Three – Isaac Asimov

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