Leningrad blockade, January 18 1943. Photo: V Tarasevicha. Courtesy Novosti Photo Library.
A photographic exhibition chronicling the Soviet experience of World War Two is showing at Manchester’s Central Library until May 11.
Victory 45: from Leningrad to Berlin is a collection of more than 50 dramatic black and white images taken by Soviet photographers during World War Two and supplied by the Russian News and Information Agency, Novosti.
Many focus on the epic 900-day siege of Leningrad (today St Petersburg), which lasted from September 8 1941, until it was broken by Soviet troops on January 18 1944.
Soviet soldiers throwing down the German standards seized in battles at the foot of the Lenin Mausoleum. Courtesy Novosti Photo Library.
Photographs show the daily struggle to survive, the cityscape transformed by gun emplacements and defensive structures and the assault by the Red Army to lift the siege in January 1943.
Other photographs chronicle the assault of the Reichstag, Berlin in May 1945 and the throwing down of German standards seized in battles at the foot of the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow. There are also pictures chronicling the liberation of various Eastern European countries and the liberation of Auschwitz on January 27 1945.
The Liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army. Red Army doctor with survivors, January 1945. Courtesy Novosti Photo Library.
The exhibition is part of Manchester City Council’s commemoration for the 60th anniversary of Victory in Europe and aims to recognise the huge contribution and sacrifice made by the Russian people.
The Soviet Union was invaded by Nazi Germany on June 22 1941 and although precise figures are often disputed the estimated Soviet losses, of 27 million soldiers and civilians during the Second World War represents almost half of all fatalities during the global conflict.
Soviet soldiers assaulting the Reichstag, Berlin, May 1945. Photo by Ivan Shagin. Courtesy Novosti Photo Library.
The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Tom O’Callaghan, opened the exhibition on Wednesday April 6 and welcomed two veterans of the siege of Leningrad, together with a representative of St Petersburg City Council.
Representatives from Manchester St Petersburg Friendship Society were also in attendance, as were British war veterans of the Russian Convoy Club and their wives. The veterans served on the extremely dangerous Arctic convoys, taking vital supplies to the Soviet Union during WWII.