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    PUTIN PAYS HOMAGE TO LENINGRAD BLOCKADE VICTIMS, DEFENDERS

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    ST.PETERSBURG, January 27 (RIA Novosti) - Visiting the Piskarevskoye cemetery, Vladimir Putin kept a minute of silence, standing at Eternal Fire in honour of Leningrad blockade victims. Accompanied by war and blockade veterans, the president proceeded then along the main alley to the Motherland monument to lay a wreath there. Leningrad blockade survivors too placed scarlet carnations at the foot of the monument.

    Putin had a brief conversation with those present.

    The Piskarevoskoye memorail cemetery located in the northern part of the city, commemorates those who died in Leningrad under the siege. All the cemeteries of the heroic city are known for the blockade's communal graves but Piskarevskoye is the largest one since it accounts for all the burials from February 15, 1942.

    The area of 28 hectares is the last resort for about half a million people who gave their lives in battles of Leningrad, died of wounds in hospitals or perished of hunger, killed by shelling and bombardments. The names of most of them are unknown.

    He museum of the memorial which was unveiled on May 9, 1960, the 15th anniversary of the V-Day, when the Eternal Fire was set up, contains historical documents and photos as evidence of the blockade time, as a remembrance of what should never be repeated.

    It is the solemn music by Tchaikovsky, Rakhmaninoff, Shostakovich, Schumann, Mozart and Chopin that echoes the blockade.

    The Piskarevskoye memorial is a place of nation-wide homage. Heads of state and government and ordinary visitors from other countries come to pay their respects to this place. There are always fresh flowers on communal graves and at the Motherland monument.

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