Siege of Leningrad

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The Siege of Leningrad began in September 1941 during the Great Patriotic War when the armies of Nazi Germany and Finland surrounded the Russian city of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). During the winter of 1941-42 people in Leningrad began to die in large numbers because the Germans and Finns would not allow food into the city. Many civilians were also killed by German bombing.

Among those caught up in the siege were the family of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin's grandmother and elder brother died during the siege, his mother nearly died of starvation, and his father was wounded while fighting to defend the city.[1]

The Red Army finally broke the siege in January 1944. During the siege 1.2 million people died of starvation caused by the Germans and Finns.[1][2] City parks today remain the mass graves of over 500,000 civilian victims who died during the siege.[3]


  1. Kirschenbaum, Lisa A. (2006). The Legacy of the Siege of Leningrad, 1941–1995: Myth, Memories, and Monuments. Cambridge University Press, 44. ISBN 9781139460651. “The blockade began two days later when German and Finnish troops severed all land routes in and out of Leningrad.”