T he bloodiest and longest standoff of WWII – the Battle of Stalingrad – lasted 200 days and claimed 2 million lives. Russia is marking the 70th anniversary of this epic struggle, which became the turning point leading to overthrow of Nazi Germany.
The anniversary of the Soviet victory in what was the biggest land battle of WWII will be widely celebrated throughout Russia on Saturday. About 1,000 guests have arrived in Volgograd – formerly Stalingrad – to participate in the celebrations, including a military parade, battle reconstructions, fireworks and more.
In honor of the celebrations, the city is changing back to its old name of Stalingrad. In 1961, following the Soviet policy of deconstructing the cult of personality around Stalin, the city was renamed Volgograd.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a reception at the Kremlin to honor some 200 WWII veterans. „We have to do everything so the memory of the Battle of Stalingrad, the truth about it, will never fade away“, Putin said. „From this point – from the unbowed city – our forces began their march to Berlin.“