Vladimir Putin recalls family’s war-time struggle

On the 65th anniversary of the end of the World War II, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke of his family’s war-time struggle during the blockade of Leningrad.

"I had occasions to make sure that our young people, when they find themselves in an extreme situation, they behave in keeping with the circumstances, in which they have been placed by life, and display, strange though it may seem and unexpected for present-day young people, both heroism, and courage, and patriotism. But in a normal and routine, if I may say so, environment, people conform to life’s requirements, and it is not bad either. As I see it, it is good. Currently, when people find themselves in extreme situations, they get there right from a greenhouse environment, and they almost don’t seem to have the inner motivation for some extraordinary deeds or feats of valor. And this is even more difficult in a situation, where society, where an entire country is mobilized, but people go for it and perform those heroic feats of valor I mentioned. This means the Russian person, the Russian citizen always has it in his heart and in his soul, and always will," Vladimir Putin said.

"Mother visited dad in his hospital ward after he was brought there with a wound, and he fed her from his ration, he gave her some food. But a little bit later he began having hungry fainting-fits because he was giving her almost everything he had. The medics saw it, and they no longer let her come to the hospital. Later he recovered somewhat and he went to visit her at home. As he approached our house, he saw dead bodies being taken out. And he found mother among the bodies, but it became clear that she was still alive. She was taken back and she survived. My parents didn’t like to discuss this theme. During the war they lost one child, my brother, whom I had never seen. It was tough, and so they didn’t like to talk about that," Vladimir Putin recalled.

You know, as I grow older, I begin having a different perception even of what I heard in my childhood. Of course, I wasn’t conscious of the intensity of the tragedy that was happening in those years with the city, with its inhabitants, with my near and dear, the tragedy of a huge number, of millions of ordinary people, in the first place. The military, after all, were being given food. But there was a moment, let us say it straight, when no one was taking care of the inhabitants any longer. They were just dying of hunger or freezing to death. This is why it is primarily an immense tragedy of a large number of people. But on the other hand, it is also a feat of valor, it’s a case of unparalleled heroism and endurance," said Russian Premier.