February 2, 2013, marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the battle of Stalingrad. The commander of the German 6th Army, Friedrich Paulus, had surrendered with the bulk of the encircled forces on January 31, 1943, but a smaller group, based around the remnants of General Karl Strecker’s 11th Korps, fought on in the factory district for another two days.
The 70th anniversary has attracted a good deal of coverage in the foreign media, not least because of the Volgograd city council’s decision that the title “Hero-City Stalingrad” will be used in official communications and events on 6 specific days related to the battle and the wider war:
- 2 February – the final defeat of the German forces at Stalingrad
- 9 May – Victory Day
- 22 June – the opening of the German invasion of the USSR
- 23 August – the massive German air raid on Stalingrad
- 2 September – end of World War II (Japanese surrender)
- 19 November – the launch of Operation Uranus against the Axis forces at Stalingrad
The BBC World Service broadcast a short documentary (10 minutes) about the battle several times in the week leading up to the anniversary. It can be heard here. Another BBC report interviews a veteran of the battle and a woman who has only recently found where her father, who died at Stalingrad, is buried.
Русский репортер (Russian Reporter) has published a fantastic collection of archive photographs of the battle and its aftermath. Click on “Все фото” at the top left to see thumbnails of all 54 images.
RIA Novosti published this album of photographs of rehearsals for the anniversary.
News broadcasts on Russian television have extensive coverage of the commemorative events. This lunchtime bulletin on NTV is typical, with footage of wreath-laying ceremonies and the military parade. This video from News.ru has 5 minutes of footage of the parade, without commentary.
This video from Russia Today includes footage of the anniversary parade as well as a re-enactment of Paulus’ surrender:
Here’s some footage of Vladimir Putin visiting the Mamayev Kurgan memorials:
In the evening, this audio-visual show was projected onto the facade of the Hotel Volgograd in the city centre:
The day finished with fireworks over Mamayev Kurgan: