Skip to comments.Russia's Putin orders 'Stalingrad' on tomb
Posted on 07/23/2004 6:40:51 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
MOSCOW -- President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered that the name of Volgograd be removed from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and replaced with the city's previous name, Stalingrad.
The measure echoes other symbolic decisions Putin has made in recent years, including resurrecting the music of the old Soviet national anthem and reinstating the Soviet-era red star as the Russian military's emblem.
The move is aimed at "commemorating the fundamental turning point" of World War II, Putin said in the order.
The battle that ended on Feb. 2, 1943, with German Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus' surrender, killed about 1 million Soviet soldiers and civilians. The defeat crushed the Nazi drive to isolate the Soviet heartland from the southern oil fields, and the battle remains a powerful symbol of Soviet courage and perseverance.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located just outside the Kremlin walls, was dedicated in 1967 and features an eternal flame and a series of polished stone blocks honoring the major Russian battles of World War II, among them Volgograd - which Stalingrad was renamed as in 1961.
Nationalists and veterans have long argued that the city's name should be returned to Stalingrad to pay tribute to those who died defending it.
Originally called Tsaritsyn, the city became Stalingrad in 1925 in honor of the Soviet dictator.
Putin's attitude about Soviet-era trappings is in sharp contrast with the policy of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, who disdained the symbols and resisted hardliners' pressure to restore the old anthem.
Stalingrad was the pivotal battle, no doubt about it. Everybody on earth [excepting certain central Europeans] breathed a sigh of relief and the Russians were ten feet tall.
I agree on this one, PC garbage does not true history make.
A bit tangential perhaps, but I saw 'Enemy at the Gates' at the theater in San Jose with some friends. We were sitting behind a (very likely liberal) yuppie couple- the female *could not fathom* the scene where the Chekist ordered the machine gun crew to mow down their own retreating troops. I answered with a comment to my companion along the lines of 'Communism in action'. Point made.
I consider myself a part of the worldwide celebration since I was born a little over 3/4 a year later. LOL
Putin's a scary guy. When I read about him wanting to return things to the way they used to be, it makes me wonder, what's next?
Was it PC garbage when Russians learned that Stalin was the greatest mass murder in history so they toppled his statues and removed his name from places of veneration?
It was a bad decision by German high command to give up their greatest weapon--maneuverability--and sit and slug it out. Too bad for them. Anybody shed a tear?
All of the folks there who fought on our side thought of themselves as present at the Battle of Stalingrad, not some other thing, and that was the case whether they liked or didn't like Stalin.
The guys on the other side, who fought againt our interests, also thought they were at the Battle of Stalingrd.
I think it was a Cornelius Ryan book where I first read about this part of WWII. He noted that despite meat rationing at home, canned Spam, courtesy of the people of the United States, was generally available to the Russian defenders.
They needed it. This was truly an horrific battle with every living nightmare possible in warfare.
It's time to leave it alone.
If it's "time to leave it alone" then why didn't they?
They did this to placate a certain political faction, they should expect a backlash from those who oppose reviving Soviet symbols.
There's nothing wrong with undoing excess.
Now, regarding Putin's motives, that's another thing. He won't be remembered as long as that particular battle.
The number of KIA/captured Germans is almost unfathomable.
15,000 Soviet troops were executed by the Soviet NKVD during the Battle of Stalingrad (according to Antony Beetor, who wrote an extensive book on the battle).
No. It was fact. The Russians did the right thing to topple his statues. This, IMHO, is less about Stalin the man, than about the battle that happened in the city named for him.
The city where the battle happened was called Stalingrad at the time of the battle. That is why it should say Stalingrad (Volgograd, the present name, is not an alternate name like Bull Run vs. Manassas, but an anachronism, the city having been renamed after Stalin's death.
I'm glad to see the Russians finally saw the wisdom of accepting our counsel.
Russian WW2 memorials are awesome works.
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