Putin to attend 75th anniversary of bloody ‘Battle of Stalingrad’


MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend ceremonies in the city formerly known as Stalingrad as it marks the 75th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

The ceremonies in the city now known as Volgograd on February 2 will feature a parade with 75 tanks – one for each year since the victory.

Some 1,500 military personnel and 50 aircraft will also be featured in the ceremonies taking place in the city centre.

Called Tsaritsyn under the tsars, the city’s name was changed to Stalingrad in 1925 by the Soviet government to honour then-leader Josef Stalin.

The five-month Battle of Stalingrad became a symbol of Soviet resilience in the face of the Nazi onslaught in 1942-43 and marked a turning point in the war.

Well over 1 million people are believed to have died in the bloodshed at Stalingrad as Soviet forces halted and then turned the tide on the invading Nazi forces.

The city on the Volga River has renamed again in the early 1960s during the political thaw that followed Stalin’s death in 1953.