In Volgograd England fans will find one of Russia’s most fascinating cities. Ahead of the Three Lions’ opening match against Tunisia tonight, supporters have the opportunity to explore a destination that, had history swung ever so slightly another way, would likely no longer exist. As Stalingrad, the city on the banks of the Volga, 300 miles from where the mighty river enters the Caspian Sea, was at the heart of one of the fiercest battles in history, repelling the Nazis after a gruelling winter of fighting and turning the tide of the Second World War. The statistics of the Battle of Stalingrad are sobering. The Red Army lost an estimated 1,100,000 soldiers. Around 40,000 civilians were killed. Over 250,000 Axis soldiers died. Of the 110,000 taken prisoners, only 5,500 survived the Soviet labour camps and made it home. It is those numbers that today shape the city of Volgograd. The Battle of Stalingrad Renamed Volgograd in 1961 as part of Nikita Khrushchev’s process of de-Stalinisation, less than 10 years after the death of the dictator, Volgograd needed to be rebuilt in near entirety after months of destruction. Its role in the war, meant that in addition to dreary communist architecture,… Read full this story
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