This Saturday marks 60 years since the day the Nazi blockade of Leningrad was broken through.
Vera Rogova, who served a traffic controller on the "Life Road," told a RIA Novosti correspondent that the preparations for the offensive operation were a top secret then, though everyone guessed that something was brewing. During a week before January 18 a reinforcement was arriving along the ice route across Lake Ladoga - "potatoes" (this is how truckloads of ammunition were called on the Life Road and the "alphabet" (soldiers).
When the news that the blockade was broken through reached the Life Road, not only women but men, too, wept, Vera Rogova recalled.
But despite the great joy, she said, there was no feast, the humdrum of life went on as usual - already on the next day a brigade of bridge-building workers, 22-year-old Vera among them, was taken to the Morozovka settlement, and construction of the Victory Road began - a few days later the first trainload of food arrived in the still besieged city.
According to Maria Alexeyenko, then a soldier of the local anti-aircraft defense unit in the Kirov district of Leningrad, people heard the news only in the morning from a report of the Soviet Information Bureau (Sovinformburo, now RIA Novosti) broadcast over the radio. On that day the Leningraders realized that very little time was left before the blockade would be totally lifted.
Rallies were held in anti-aircraft defense units and factories, and on the following day a grand concert was staged in the Concert Hall - the Women's Academic Choir gave a performance and Maria Alexeyenko sang with the choir.
According to the city Council of Veterans, about 600 persons who spent a few months in the besieged city live today in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), and only about 50 people who worked within the blockade ring all the war, have survived to this day.