By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondenty BosNewsLife
VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA (BosNewsLife)-- For one day the southern Russian city of Volgograd was called Stalingrad, again, as Russia remembered the bloodiest battle in human history. Survivors were among those commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad, which ended here exactly 70 years ago.
Soldiers dressed in World War Two uniforms marched through the rainy city center to recall the surrender of Nazi-forces on February 2nd, 1943.
Modern warfare's bloodiest battle lasted 200 days and killed up to two million people, including solders and civilians.
President Vladimir Putin promised veterans of the six month onslaught that their suffering will never be forgotten.
“We have to do everything to keep the memory of Stalingrad and its truth alive” Putin said. It was time, he added, "to fight against attempts to falsify events of the Second World War, and against those who shamelessly erase the heroic actions of the ones who liberated the world.”
RIVER OF BLOOD
Fyodor Kovalenko was among the Russian forces fighting house to house as Germany and its allies captured 90 percent of the city.
"Stalingrad was hell," he recalled. "The Volga river was on fire. When we went to get water from it, it was water and blood, mixed."
Though the German offensive to capture Stalingrad reduced much of the city to rubble, the troops were forced to surrender. It was seen as a crucial turning point in the war, which eventually led to the defeat of Nazi-Germany.
At least some veterans have proposed to permanently revert Volgograd to its old name Stalingrad, after Soviet leader Stalin. But it remains a delicate issue nearly 60 years after his death. Though Stalin led his people to victory against Nazi Germany, he is also widely condemned for decades of brutality and repression.
(BosNewsLife's NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key general news developments from especially, but not limited to, (former) Communist countries and other autocratic states impacting the Church and/or other compassionate professionals).
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