The plan for celebrating the anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad from the fascist blockade will not be approved until it takes into account the wishes of the participants and eyewitnesses of the events of 80 years ago. This decision was announced by the Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko on May 25 in St. Petersburg. On behalf of President Vladimir Putin, she headed the organizing committee for the preparations for the anniversary celebrations, which will be held on January 27, 2024. And immediately after the first organizational meeting, which took place on May 11 in Moscow, she met with the blockade survivors at the Interior Theater of St. Petersburg. Already in the course of the conversation, the first good news appeared.
Presidential payments from the federal budget are being prepared for the holiday date. Valentina Matvienko has not yet begun to name the amounts that will be given to the blockade, but noted that “they will be decent.” In addition, the regional payment is being prepared by St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov.
Attention will be paid not only to those who live in St. Petersburg. “Every year there are fewer and fewer residents of besieged Leningrad. About 62 thousand people live in 82 regions of Russia and abroad. All of them will receive a federal payment. In addition, an appeal is being prepared to each governor so that on the eve of the anniversary date, the blockade be surrounded by attention. It is necessary to understand whether anyone needs to solve housing and household issues, how things are with medical care, spa treatment, hearing aids, and so on. Maybe someone will find some question petty. But for a person of age there are no small questions, ”said Matvienko.
She emphasized that in this case, it is not only about the celebration as such: “We must not forget our history, especially against the background of how neo-Nazism is rearing its head again. This is a serious challenge and threat both for Europe and for the world. Today we must remind about what Nazism is, about what they did during the Second World War, the Great Patriotic War.”
Don’t forget the fight
Chairman of the public organization “Inhabitants of besieged Leningrad” Elena Tikhomirova drew attention to the fact that the blockade of Leningrad did not happen separately, not by itself. It is part of the battle for Leningrad, a battle that lasted 1127 days, ended on August 9, 1944 and is considered the longest in the Great Patriotic War.
Valentina Matvienko stressed that when it comes to the liberation of the city, they mean and talk not only about civilians, but also about the defenders of Leningrad.
Blockade survivors asked the speaker of the Federation Council to help solve the problem with the Ministry of Transport. Blockade fighters and all participants in the war can fly an airplane for free once a year. But after the last decision of the Ministry of Transport, only participants in hostilities can travel by train, and residents of besieged Leningrad have been lost in the list of recipients of services.
“Not everyone can fly by age,” the blockade survivors argued. Valentina Matvienko asked to send her an appeal with a statement of the normative part of the problem in order to understand how it happened, and promised to help in solving it.
Good begets good
At the meeting, the blockade survivors reminded Valentina Matvienko that in 2005, when she was the governor of St. Petersburg, they launched the Duty charity program and provided the elderly with everything they needed on request: who needed hearing aids, who needed prostheses, who needed medical or other assistance.
And Matvienko recalled the story of the “cycle of goodness”: once, when she was still working as deputy chairman of the Leningrad City Executive Committee, a mother came to the reception with a boy of about five, who was barely walking. He had a rare disease and needed an operation that was then only done in the UK. Otherwise, he had a year or two maximum to live. With great difficulty, then this problem was solved. Years passed, Matvienko knew nothing about that family. But one day a woman who was involved in helping blockade survivors and veterans, providing them with free tours along the Neva, asked at the signing of the corresponding agreement: “Valentina Ivanovna, don’t you remember me?” It turned out that this was the mother of the boy who survived, recovered, grew up and by that time had already graduated from the university. After saving her son, she decided that she would help those who needed it, returning good in a circle. Valentina Matvienko recalled the words of Leo Tolstoy: “If evil people unite to do evil, all the more good people should unite to do good.”