History Documentary: Stalin and the Betrayal of Leningrad

I watched a fabulous historical documentary on Sunday night (and live-tweeted as I watched!) called Stalin and the Betrayal of Leningrad. I’ve embedded it below, or you can click on the title to go the YouTube video directly.

There are a couple of reasons why I decided to post about this:

  • I never knew about this so-called “Leningrad affair.” After the citizens of Leningrad survived a 900-day siege by the Germans, they were treated as heroes. However, after World War II ended, some of the party higher-ups were arrested, tortured, and executed. The documentary explores the siege and the subsequent Leningrad affair. Unfortunately it was not as detailed on the latter point as I would have liked.
  • There’s an event concerning the Leningrad siege currently unfolding in Russia. A Russian TV station, Dozhd (that means rain) put a poll on its website asking whether it would have been better for the Russians to surrender Leningrad to the Germans so lives could have been saved. There was an uproar about this question and the channel is now in danger of shutting down due to boycotts. Moral of the story: don’t mess with Russians when it comes to World War II (which the call the Great Patriotic War). Seriously, Westerners cannot understand the importance this war has in the Russian psyche.

If you’re looking for something good to watch, consider watching this documentary. It’s really quite well-done. I’ve watched a few BBC documentaries so far and am very impressed with the quality.