The Host City Media Center in St. Petersburg hosted a discussion of events planned to mark Day of Remembrance and Sorrow on June 22. According to Alexander Rzhanenkov, Chairperson of the St. Petersburg Committee on Social Policy, due to the public health restrictions, attendance at many ceremonies will be limited, and some will be moved to online.
"We have to create conditions to protect our veterans and residents who want to take part in these ceremonies. On June 22, all our memorial cemeteries in St. Petersburg will hold wreath- and flower-laying ceremonies, but in a limited format," Rzhanenkov noted.
In addition, several nationwide events are scheduled to take place on this day, which people living in St. Petersburg will join. For example, a minute of silence will be observed across the country at 12:15 pm. Rays of Victory will be another nationwide event.
"The Rays of Victory event in memory of those fallen during WWII and those living today will be held at 11:15 pm, also across Russia and in our city, in all districts, at memorials, at companies, in military units, everywhere it's possible. Searchlights will illuminate our sky with light, and for half an hour the rays of Victory will light up everything from these points," Rzhanenkov said.
He also noted that 4,400 war veterans and over 10,000 home front workers are living in St. Petersburg today.
Bogdan Zastavny, Chairperson of the St. Petersburg Committee on Youth Policy and Cooperation with Public Organizations, said that the 1,418 Lines poetry marathon will also be held in the city on June 22.
"It will be an open-microphone event where anyone can come and read a poem of their own or by popular authors devoted to this date," he added.
Zastavny also said that St. Petersburg joined a national event called A Stork on the Roof with over 2,000 participants: "Young people in each district of the city will come together to perform the song ‘A Stork on the Roof.' Following the event, we will make a video that will be broadcast online and by our TV channels."
Olga Amelchenkova, Chairperson of the Central Headquarters of the Volunteers of Victory national public movement, spoke about the events the volunteers would take part in. On April 17 — June 19, a nationwide volunteer event to clean up memorial sites and military burial sites is being held.
"By May 9, we had improved over 10,000 places, and on June 19 we will hold the last event of this national cleanup dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the war," Amelchenkova noted.
Candle of Memory will be a key event of Remembrance Day. On the night of June 21-22, millions of candles will be lit by people in Russia and other countries in memory of all those who died during the Great Patriotic War next to monuments and military memorials.
During these days, Russia also holds the traditional Memory Garden campaign: 30 million trees have already been planted to commemorate those killed in the Great Patriotic War.
Yelena Tikhomirova, Management Board Chairperson of the St. Petersburg public organization, Residents of Besieged Leningrad, noted that June 22 was a momentous and tragic date for all people living in St. Petersburg.
"It is so difficult to speak about that day. I was just a child, but I was quite perceptive. I remember how everyone in the city grew wary. Wary. Immediately, the city concentrated somehow, and after that people changed. This day was indeed the watershed between peaceful life and the outbreak of war," Yelena Tikhomirova said.
Ilya Reznik, poet and songwriter, People's Artist of Russia, also shared his memories of the Siege of Leningrad. He talked about several episodes from his childhood during the siege and recited several poems about them.