Saint Petersburg: Court opens genocide trial over Siege of Leningrad

An unprecedented process to recognize the siege of Leningrad as a genocide has begun in Saint Petersburg. Secret documents are presented and the involvement of European countries in the war crimes of Nazi Germany are made public for the first time.

At the request of the Saint Petersburg Prosecutor’s Office, proceedings were opened in the City Court. The Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Igor Krasnov initiated the trial. The siege of Leningrad by German troops during World War II has never been legally assessed and therefore not equated with genocide.

Zakharova warns Germany: Non-discrimination in compensation for victims of the Leningrad blockade

Zakharova warns Germany: Non-discrimination in compensation for victims of the Leningrad blockade

Previously, the actions of the Nazis had been classified as genocide by courts in the Novgorod, Pskov, Rostov, Bryansk, Orel, Krasnodar and Crimea regions. Now it was decided to recognize this historical fact for Leningrad as well. The news agency RIA Nowostireported:

“The blockade of Leningrad, which began on September 8, 1941, lasted 872 days and was one of the most blatant Nazi war crimes of World War II. According to prosecutors, the Nazis wanted to destroy the city as part of the so-called ‘Hunger’ plan, by covering Leningrad with food barriers and constantly bombing and shelling More than 150,000 shells were fired, 107,000 bombs dropped.

Later, German artillerymen repeatedly admitted that the bombardments were ordered with the aim of destroying Leningrad and its inhabitants, and that they were deliberately carried out at times to cause as many casualties among the city’s population.

It will be an exciting process. Especially in view of the current geopolitical turbulence. Documents constituting state secrets will be presented for the first time, St. Petersburg Prosecutor Viktor Melnik said in an interview with the news agency RIA nowosti:

“The city’s prosecutor’s office has examined more than 42 volumes and 15,000 sheets of archival documents, some of which are still classified as state secrets. All documents confirming the legal status of the case, including those not previously evaluated by the judicial authorities, will be released presented in the proceedings.”

It has already been announced that the proceedings will also bring to light previously unknown details about the involvement of several European countries in the Leningrad blockade on the part of Nazi Germany. Prosecutor Melnik said at the first hearing before the Saint Petersburg City Court on the application for recognition of the blockade as genocide:

“In addition to the German occupying forces, armed units from Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain as well as individual volunteers from Austria, Latvia, Poland, France and the Czech Republic also took part in the siege of Leningrad.”

Melnik emphasized that such facts have so far “only been researched by historians in isolated cases” and have never been legally evaluated. Now this will happen “for the first time”.

Calendar sheet: 80 years of Soviet counter-offensive in the Battle of Moscow

Calendar sheet: 80 years of Soviet counter-offensive in the Battle of Moscow

During the preparation of the trial, an attempt was made to determine more precisely the number of fatalities during the blockade of Leningrad. Prosecutors estimate that the number is at least double the official post-war statistics. At the first hearing on the case, prosecutors stated:

“The work carried out by the prosecutor’s office with archival and statistical documents makes it possible to record a significantly higher number of people who died during the siege. According to calculations, more than a million people.”

More on the subject – Self-propelled howitzers on June 22: Why Medvedev reminds the Germans of the Leningrad blockade

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