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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Russia celebrates 75th anniversary of Battle of Stalingrad

This is Russian president Vladimir Putin posing  with women dressed in historic Red Army uniforms ~ it is very significant, though we may not understand it fully as we read more reports on Western media on opposition to Putin being on the rise !  

whether  one  may like  him  or  not,  the  World's  most  powerful  person  for  four  years running,  Russia's  president  has  exerted  his  country's  influence  in  nearly  every corner   of   the   globe;   from   the   motherland   to   Syria   to   the   U.S.   presidential elections,  Putin  continues  to  get  what  he  wants.   In  2016  Russian  hackers  were accused   of   tapping   into   email   accounts   owned   by   members   of   the   U.S. Democratic  Party  in  a  bid  to  aid  the  campaign  of  Donald  Trump,  who  has regularly  praised  Putin's  leadership  style.  The  Kremlin  denies  the  charges,  and President-elect  Trump  has  also  dismissed  the  possibility of  outsiders  tampering  in the election.

Now   comes   the   news   that   Vladimir   Putin   visited   an   agricultural   equipment factory    and  quipped  that  if  he  were  to  lose  upcoming  elections,  he  might choose  a  new  career  in  farming.  The  Russian  president  reportedly  made  the comments while sitting in a combine harvester simulator at a Rostselmash factory in Rostov-on-Don.

You  may not  have  heard  of  ‘Volgograd’  (   an  important  industrial  city and  the administrative  center of  Volgograd Oblast,  Russia,  situated on the western bank of   the   Volga  River,   after   which  the  city  was  named.  You  may  recall   it  by connecting  to  a  battle  75  years  ago  !  a  battle   often  regarded  as  the  largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare.

The city’s origin may date back to 1500s   ~ over years much water has flown on the river Volga. The city was renamed Stalingrad after Joseph Stalin in   1925. This was  officially  to  recognize  the  city's  and  Stalin's  role  in  its  defense  against  the Whites  between  1918  and  1920.   Stalin  is  no  longer  a  much  sought  name  !!   In 1961,   Nikita   Khrushchev's   administration   changed   the   name   of   the   city   to Volgograd  ("Volga  City")  as  part  of  his  programme  of  de-Stalinization  following Stalin's  death,  as  he  was  trying  to  reduce  the  "cult  of  personality".  To  recall, Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin [1878 1953] was a Soviet revolutionary and political leader of Georgian ethnicity. Governing the Soviet Union as its dictator from the mid-1920s  until  his  death  in  1953,  he  served as  General  Secretary of  the  Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1952 and as Premier of the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1953.

The   Battle   of   Stalingrad   (23   August   1942      2   February   1943)   was   a   major confrontation  of  World  War  II  in  which  Nazi  Germany  and  its  allies  fought  the Soviet  Union  for  control  of  the  city  of  Stalingrad  (now  Volgograd)  in  Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air  raids,  it  is  often  regarded  as  the  single  largest  (nearly  2.2  million  personnel) and bloodiest (1.7–2 million killed, wounded or captured) battles in the history of warfare. It was an extremely costly defeat for German forces, and the Army High Command  had  to  withdraw  vast  military  forces  from  the  West  to  replace  their losses.

The German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the  6th Army  and  elements  of  the  4th       Panzer   Army.  The  attack  was  supported  by intensive  Luftwaffe  bombing  that   reduced   much   of  the  city  to   rubble.  The fighting    degenerated    into     house-to-house     fighting;     both     sides     poured reinforcements  into  the  city.  By  mid-November  1942,  the  Germans  had  pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of   the   Volga   River.     By  the   beginning   of   February  1943,   the   Axis   forces   in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food. The remaining units of the Army  surrendered  bringing  to  a  close  the  battle  that  had  lasted  more  than  5 months.

News from  Russia  state  that Russia marked  the  75th     anniversary of  the  victory of the  Battle  of  Stalingrad  which  ended  in  1943.    The  battle  lasted  200  days  and became   a   turning   point   during   World   War   II   as   the   Nazis   were   defeated. President   Vladimir   Putin  attended  several  ceremonies  in  Volgograd  ..  ..   the German defeat in the 200-day long battle was a pivotal moment in the war and is  glorified  by Russia  as  the  event  that  saved  Europe  from  Adolf  Hitler  and  as  a symbol of the country's resilience.

Putin flew to Volgograd, the current name of the city, where he laid flowers and a  wreath  at  the  city's  war  memorial  Mamayev  Kurgan,  as  well  as  posed  with  a group  of  young  women  dressed  in  historic  World  War II-era  uniforms.   He  posed for  a  picture  alongside  women  dressed  in  historic  Red  Army  uniforms  during commemorations  of  the  75th      anniversary  of  the  Battle  of  Stalingrad.    He  also attended   a   military   parade   in   Volgograd,   involving   about   1,500   troops, armoured  vehicles  and  jets  flying  over  a  crowd  of  spectators  bundled  up  to protect against the sub-zero temperatures. 'There was no other such battle in the history  of  mankind,'  Putin  told  a  crowd  of  veterans  he  met  at  the  Volgograd philharmonic for a concert commemorating the event.

Soviet victory and sacrifice in the war has been increasingly upheld by Moscow in   recent   years   to   stoke   patriotism,   which   'has   practically  become   a   state ideology,' said a  political analyst.  He further added that Moscow needs positive symbols  while  ties  with  the  West  are  at  a  post-Cold  War  low,  so  dates  like  war victory  anniversaries  are  used  to  'promote  the  image  of  a  country  capable  of accomplishments and defeating all of its enemies.'

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
2nd Feb 2018.

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