122 Leningrad Siege: Now and Then

Leningrad Siege: Now and Then

Posted on January 26, 2009 by

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 1

“The Siege of Leningrad, also known as The Leningrad Blockade was an unsuccessful military operation by the Axis (Nazi) powers to capture Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) during World War II. The siege lasted from September 9, 1941, to January 27, 1944, when a narrow land corridor to the city was established by the Soviets. The total lifting of the siege occurred on January 27, 1944. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest and most destructive sieges of major cities in modern history and it was the second most costly.” – from Wikipedia.

During nine hundred (!) days a few million people city of Leningrad suffered from cold and hunger, being deprived of almost all supplies of food and fuel. Many thousands died, those who survived remember this not very willingly. The situation with food was so heavy, no food was sold/distributed among people except a few grams (not even tens or hundred grams) of bread, and not each day, that people had to eat stuff that they would never eat in normal life, like making soups of leather boots (because leather is of animal origin) or boiling the wallpaper because the glue with which they were attached to walls contained a bit of organic stuff. Of course many occasions of cannibalism occurred.

On those photos you can see some pieces of those old photos made during those black days overlaid to the modern city views, respecting the place and angle of view.

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 2

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 3

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Siege of Leningrad, Russia 5

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 6

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 7

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 8

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 9

Siege of Leningrad, Russia 10


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122 Responses to “Leningrad Siege: Now and Then”

  1. Beautiful says:

    Stuff! Good idea.

    • Miss India says:

      OMG Russians are so brave! Troy fell, Rome fell, Leningrad did not fall. Despite half of them being starved to death, they never surrendered. Russians are the bravest people in the world! :)

      • Dennis sinneD says:

        I always thought the same. Very impressed with their tenacity, ability and strength.

        I love the movie, Come and See by Elem Klimov.

        It’s no Hollywood-American movie, thankfully. It’s much more realistic of the suffering and effort put forth, far before the Allied response, and far-far before the US response.

        One day my wife and I hope to visit Russia!

      • ReS says:

        it’s a shame their grandchildren have became neo-nazis and Hitler is their hero, now.

    • Miss India says:

      So much poverty and misery in poor Russia, some 60 years ago and even today. Russia truly is skipped by what we called civilisation and development in the west. :(

      • Kirill says:

        Russia will never have so called western civilization.

      • altima says:

        feel sorry for yourself. there were concerts and sport matches during the years of the siege. people were cleaning the streets and wearing fashionable clothes, and the public library has not been closed for the most of the period. this is civillization and development.

      • Steve says:

        Uef: You in America have a very primitive society, you don’t even make differences by the colour of one’s pants!

  2. [...] Segei Larenkov hat für English Russia eine sehr beeindruckende Foto-Mash Up-Serie gestalltet, bei der er Bilder nach dem Deutschen Angriff mit denen von heute mischt. Quasi eine Vorher-Nachher Perspektive auf einem Bild. Sehenswert English Russia: Leningrad Siege: Now and Then [...]

  3. Alain says:

    What are those inflatable big things, on many pictures ?
    Anyway, nice and well realized photos. Very original !

    • Joe Shmoe says:

      Barrage Balloons.

      Balloons with steel cables hanging from them. These were used for aerial defense.

    • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says:

      Dear Joe Schmoe,

      I provided an explanation, but the reply feature on this site chose to list it as a seperate post (probably because of it’s amazing depth of insight, revelatory information, and clarity). Please see my post below.

  4. Russian_NYC says:

    Truly original work, one of the more interesting posts. I wish they did more photos.

    So you see people? This proves that everything was black and white back then – a few more out of the countless photographic evidence of this irrefutable fact!

  5. Bilosh says:

    The giant sausages were dropped in to feed Leningrad peoples but they only like sweet sausages – these sausages were hot to taste and peoples did not like.

  6. LiraNuna says:

    The compositions are wonderful.

  7. Noah says:

    Beautiful and fascinating photography. The NY Times recently featured at least one similar photograph, illustrating the change of a particular building or city block from the early 20th Century to today. I think it was part of a series–the one I remember seeing was of a block in Harlem, and there hadn’t been any significant change. (Which is telling in its own way…)

    The photos here of the people are particularly beautiful and poignant–like ghosts of old Leningrad haunting the streets of the present.

    Why did they have a scaffolding around the equestrian statue? Surely it wasn’t being built during or just before the siege.

  8. Steam McQueen says:

    Best. ER post. Ever.


  9. ff6m says:

    These photos are really cool. What a great idea!

  10. Let me be no original: this is a great work! Congratulations to the author!

  11. Jason says:

    Saint Petersburg set a different standard from the other russian cities for its city architecture that moscow hated.

  12. SSSR says:

    Dont anyone ask where she is!

  13. patrick says:

    Russia should be bombed again .

  14. R22iGg says:

    It’s hard to believe the city preserves most of his architecture from those days, but if you think back this city doesn’t even be attacked by the axis (or at last it wasn’t attacked with the idea of take it because Hitler didn’t want to maintain his population), it just was besieged.

    • altima says:

      it is on the UNESCO list of cultural heritage. though it is in danger of removal from the list due to the policy of our latest city administration who let be ruined several buildings inside the city centre and even in the Nevsky prospekt. actually the historic architecture was intact throughout the whole Soviet rule.

    • Rick says:

      I think it is wrong to say Leningrad was not ‘attacked’.

      As far as ‘maintaining the population’ goes, given Hitler’s opinion of the slavs, I doubt he would bother his head over maintaining them. Check out how slave labor was “maintained”.

      It is probably correct to observe that Hitler did not throw as much of his forces at Leningrad as he could have. But that is because his primary target was Moscow and he was in a hurry to get there. Luckily, he didn’t make it.

      Even more fortunate was his postponing of the starting date for the Russian campaign over the objections of the General Staff because he wanted revenge on England (London) for the minor, but symbolic bombing of Berlin. It also resulted in the destruction of aircraft that would have been handy in Russia. If he had followed the General Staff’s advice, General Winter might not have stopped him short of Moscow.

  15. Snuxxy says:

    This is amazing! Very well done! Thank you!

  16. Dimi says:

    Very nice post. Thanx!!

    I’d like to see more from this. Maybe some other towns or cities… :)


  17. Mitriy says:

    Прикольные фотки Питера!!

  18. foxtrot says:

    What wiki article did you use?
    In the article on Siege of Leningrad we can read:

    “The Siege of Leningrad, also known as The Leningrad Blockade (Russian: блокада Ленинграда (transliteration: blokada Leningrada) was an unsuccessful military operation by the Axis powers to capture Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) during World War II. The siege lasted 872 days [12]from September 9, 1941, to January 27, 1944. The total lifting of the siege occurred on January 27, 1944. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest and most destructive sieges of major cities in modern history and it was the most lethal with over 2 million casualties on all sides of the battle.”

    where “and it was the second most costly” ?

  19. [...] Over at English Russia, Sergei Larenkov has merged historic photos form the siege of Leningrad with contemporary pictures taken from the same vantage point. Flak balloons, protective scaffolding, ruins and dead bodies juxtaposed with SUVs, modern busses, restored facades. Fascinating work. [...]

  20. [...] славы России — полное снятие блокады Ленинграда. По ссылке замечательные фото-работы, приуроченные к этой [...]

  21. Walrus says:

    You can try to do it at any time. But do not blame yourself after. You’ve being warned.

  22. Wonderful images, very haunting. I’ll have to see if I can find a good book on the siege as it’s a part of WW2 I haven’t learned much about. Sounds like it was a truly awful time and it’s surprising that school history courses in the UK seem to skip over it (at least they did in my day…).

  23. [...] January 27, 2009 · No Comments The sometimes hilarious and often poignant English Russia has a fascinating series of pictures juxtaposing old photographs of Leningrad under siege during WWII with those of contemporary St. Petersburg. The pictures preserve the location and vantage point. Great work: [...]

  24. asterix says:

    Very good idea! Looking at the images helps you to think back into the real history of this city…

  25. Ngern says:

    So sad to see people killing each other.

  26. artem_sol says:

    2 patrick: парень,не ссы против ветра..в какой бы ты не жил стране – помни! – наша страна все равно круче!

  27. scot says:

    Hi Miss India,

    or should I say Miss Schizofrindia?

    I think you are being seriously misrepresented round here.


  28. Bilosh says:

    ok you try to eat theses sausages – see if you do not staarve to death

  29. [...] Sergei Larenkov misturou fotos do cerco de Leningrado com fotos atuais da cidade (agora São Petersburgo). [...]

  30. 4estgraham says:

    There was an Elephant from the Zoo that had been killed by a bomb. My Father inlaw was 8yrs old during the seige of Leningrad. He worked with a well known Professor from the Acadamy of Zoology in St. Petersburg. The Professor’s widow has the head and a foot from this Elephant in her house. It is very interesting to hear the stories of those who survived the seige. Thanks ER for another great post.

    • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says:

      Did anyone save the elephant’s testicles? Maybe put them in a big, big glass jar? What a conversation starter they would make!

  31. maxD says:

    Excellent !!

  32. [...] Sergei Larenkov misturou fotos do cerco de Leningrado com fotos atuais da cidade (agora São Petersburgo), respeitando os mesmos ângulos. [...]

  33. Gordski says:

    Leningrad, the Phoenix, rises from its own ashes as St. Petersburg and the talented eye of Mr. Larenkov is there to document the event. You are a master at melding history with visual art. Thank you!!

  34. [...] sent along a link to these interesting composite images of St. Petersburg/Leningrad made by combining photos from the 1941-44 Leningrad Blockade and contemporary photos of the same [...]

  35. [...] славы России — полное снятие блокады Ленинграда. По ссылке замечательные фото-работы, приуроченные к этой дате. [...]

  36. [...] English Russia-bloggen har en fabelaktig serie av bilder av beleiringen av Leningrad under annen verdenskrig, overlagt på samme steder fra dagens St. Petersburg. Samme blogg har forøvrig en rekke andre gode bildeserier, som f.eks. denne av russiske lastebilsjåførers hverdag i det høye nord og hverdagsliv i Sovjetunionen (flere pekere til fotoserier nederst på hver side). [...]

  37. | BlackUrban says:

    [...] сайте, выставлены работы, которые освещают время периода [...]

  38. [...] of the siege of Leningrad during WWII (from September 9, 1941, to January 27, 1944) from English Russia. It is not a new technique to take historical images and photoshop them into contemporary [...]

  39. Freude Bud says:

    These are very beautiful and ugly. Thank you.

  40. Jason says:

    Hey Scot,read the russian banya page and about maybe 3 pages after that.Miss India is no longer with us.Now her name is highjacked by whoever!

  41. [...] I am linking to a blog called English Russia – there Russians write articles about Russia – so don’t mind the grammatical mistakes (I’m doing my best to remedy the situation, geez). Today’s article was about the Siege, and it’s worth a look. http://englishrussia.com/?p=2235 [...]

  42. hederamas says:

    Beautiful, touching, hard work! I wish we had the same of WW2 bombed Budapest bridges!

  43. [...] Niste imagini graitoare si o idee originala – link [photo of the [...]

  44. [...] English Russia to see more amazing images by Sergei [...]

  45. [...] – Jan. 1944, during which time from 640,000-800,000 Russians died, many from cold and hunger.  More here, and here. via Warren [...]

  46. [...] English Russia esittelee hienoa kokoelmaa miehen kuvia täällä. [...]

  47. [...] bongasin kielenkiintoisen valokuva-aiheisen linkin, Englishrussia.com’in postauksen otsikolla Leningrad Siege: Now and Then. Sodanaikaisesta Leningradista otettuja kuvia on liitetty tämän päivän Pietarista otettuihin [...]

  48. [...] English Russia » Leningrad Siege: Now and Then. [...]

  49. [...] take the concept to a whole new level. It’s like you can see through time (with English text here, which might actually be the original posting location – I’m not [...]

  50. [...] sad, agonizing in what they represent and beautiful. Found on environmental graffiti, more on English Russia. « Turing Machine – Lego [...]

  51. [...] Sergei Larenkov takes WWII-era photos of Russia, returns to where the photos were taken, matches up the shot and–oh, just click on the link. (Now, in English!) [...]

  52. [...] more on Environmental Graffiti. See more images at English Russia, here. Thanks Adrian for the [...]

  53. [...] English Russia Vía: Microsiervos ¿Qué te ha parecido?  Loading [...]

  54. Thanks for comments. I am the author of these images. Other my works can be seen on my site.

  55. [...] Digital Photography, Photography, Russia by Rollfilm on February 5th, 2009 Russian photographer Sergei Larenkov created a set of MashUp photographs using historical photographs from the WW2 Leningrad siege and [...]

  56. [...] 28, 2009 “Kak davno ya ne byla v Sankt-Peterburge…” Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)No [...]

  57. [...] Link to the site… [...]

  58. [...] encuentro con este excelente fotoreportaje de Sergei Larenkov publicado hace ya algún tiempo en English Russia (un blog más que recomendable [...]

  59. [...] Doubles it’s Military Flooded McDonald’s Moss Bath Mat Pepsi Logo St. Petersberg Redux Leningrad Siege Reclaimed Cardboard Kitchen Insects Poo Statue Lego Sculpture Basket’s 2.0 addthis_url = [...]

  60. Motya says:

    These photos are amazing. As if the souls of those citizens still walk the streets. Like a flashback in time. Great work.

  61. [...] Para ver más imágenes visita: Englishrussia. Fotos del mismo estilo de San Petersburgo. [...]

  62. Matt says:

    About 10 years ago I was at a Russian language school and lived with a Russian family. I remember on several occasions the father would get angry at me for what reason I could not determine. later I found out thru a friend that he had lived thru the Siege of Leningrad as a small boy – and had lost his sister and I believe his father to starvation. What he was angry at me for was, as an American, I was not finishing all the food that his wife cooked for me.

    The scars from things like that follow a person all their lives. Imagine eating sawdust. That’s what they did to survive. I’d be angry too.


  63. [...] then and St. Petersburg now June 15th, 2009 Goto comments Leave a comment Amazing compositing of old and new cityscape photos. var addthis_pub = ‘ingulsrud'; var addthis_language = ‘en';var addthis_options = ‘email, [...]

  64. Irina says:

    I’ve heard the stories, so these picture are breathtaking.

  65. [...] and Now Always Are Click here. I’m just gonna shut [...]

  66. [...] fascinating picture is a part of a series of images that merge modern day Saint Petersburg with images from World War II (then Leningrad). Now [...]

  67. [...] Leningrad Siege: Then and Now — Old photographs artfully blended into new ones [...]

  68. Cigarettes says:

    Interesting idea to combine past with present. Great evolution through century.

  69. [...] finally, the Leningrad Siege: now and [...]

  70. chi says:

    a fun story you’ve got there but those balloons protected important buildings from bombs thrown from planes

  71. Rodrigo Freire Honorato says:

    Muito interessante, retratam cada momento com fidelidade. Parabens.

  72. VoiniSveta says:

    Мне понравился ваш сайтик, так держать.

  73. [...] con el trabajo de composición temporal de imágenes que realizó  Sergey Larenkov en el sitio EnglishRussia.com Quedamos literalmente atrapados entre aquellas imágenes tan crudas del sitio de Leningrado tomadas [...]

  74. [...] a fascinating photo essay that superimposes images taken during the siege with contemporary shots of the same locations. [...]

  75. Macsen says:

    The survival of the people of Leningrad/St. Petersburg was truly heroic.
    What more could be said?!

  76. [...] when photos of one place now and then are carefully merged. We had sometime ago brilliant set of St. Petersburg during the WW2 photos combined with present ones. Now alike photos from Kiev [...]

  77. @Motya, yes you’re right, it is like a flashbakc in time

    Such a beautiful series of photos, soul-wrenching

  78. Josie says:

    These pictures can really leave one speechless. Like another poster above already said, it’s as if the ghosts of those who lived there still haunted the city; a flashback in time.

  79. DSV says:

    It sounds as if many of you are ignorant of the horrors Leningrad (St. Petersburg) has witnessed. Go read a book.

  80. [...] photograph by S. Larenkov, [...]

  81. [...] above picture is from the sequel to this fascinating set of pictures. What I find fascinating about these pictures and others like them is how they force us to [...]

  82. Dalia says:

    I read “The Bronze Horseman” a Novel by Paullina Simons (very recommended)its like the story come alive..
    seen all the figures dragged in the street by their family, ans see the beutifule winter palace…

    I wish all novel will have this kind of privilege.
    You should all read the book to understand the history of this city
    Great work and thank you

  83. [...] Its powerful stuff. See more of his photos here and photos of Russia specifically here. [...]

  84. ismael says:

    is the chet fock you

  85. ismael says:

    i´m portuguese is the chet but i dont like web site and a pictures but i like you mother ahahahahah

  86. [...] of modern-day St Petersburg with photos taken during the Siege of Leningrad. Examples can be found here and here. Astonishing. If only I could scratch away at the surface and find the living history on [...]

  87. B says:

    What a great photo series.

  88. B says:

    I wish the artist’s name was mentioned.

  89. [...] Leningrad Siege: Then and Now — Old photographs artfully blended into new ones [...]

  90. Excellent cet article ! Merci bcp ^^
    J’aime tomber sur ce type blog
    Bonne continuation.

    Facebook : http://goo.gl/Makbv
    My website: http://www.steeveaukingso.fr

  91. Si says:

    Brilliant post, I love the picture work, well done and thanks!
    I can’t imagine how the food restriction would be, I suppose we live a lucky life not having suffered that

  92. Oh my God says:

    I am really surprised

  93. Chingi says:

    Excellent article and wery good photos!

  94. Phil says:

    Someone said the Russians were brave because they ‘stuck it out’ well, that wasn’t their idea… Stalin wouldn’t let the people leave! He would shoot any solder that retreated!
    Did I read (or misunderstand) someone calling America ‘primitive’?
    The country that put the only men on the moon and all other countries want to be like us… yeah, we are primitive!

  95. Tianli Naturalpotent says:

    I’d like to see more from this. Maybe some other towns or cities. GREAT JOB

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