On August 28, employees of Sea Port of Saint-Petersburg JSC (SP SPb) took part in the solemn meeting dedicated to the anniversary of the Tallinn-Kronshtadt Breakthrough, one of the most tragic naval episodes in the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. According to a tradition, the event was held at the Monument to Heroic Seafarers of the Baltic Shipping Company and Leningrad Port, near the port’s main gate on the Gutuyevsky island.
The commemorative event annually gathers port employees, descendants of the Tallinn Operation participants and representatives of municipal public organizations. The most important guests were Captain I Rank Vasily Dzhurdzha, 99, and the Baltic Fleet veteran Pavel Semenov, 90, who started the war as a sailor-boy. The latter recited the poem by Nikolay Ulanov, survivor of the Siege of Leningrad. It was dedicated to young seafarers and their great sacrifice.
When speaking at the ceremony, Maria Inge-Vechtomova, head of the regional public organization “Tallinn Operation Memory” thanked the port workers for their attention and support:
“Thank you very much for having gathered here again. We know that the flowers at the monument to heroic seafarers are present all year round, – she said. – History entrusts us with a great responsibility: keeping the memory about the deeds of our fathers and grandfathers. Remarkably, the number of those willing to fulfill their duty rises from year to year with more and more descendants of the Tallinn Operation participants joining us”.
Emil Solodky, Chairman of “Portovik” (SP SPb primary trade union organization of the Water Transport Workers’ Union), said: “Among us are not only those who remember the tragic events but also those who can take over that memory: I see lots of children here. It is essential to understand that the history helps us comprehend who we are and where we are going”.
As the meeting culmination, the participants laid flowers at the monument, the only one in Russia to commemorate the heroes of the major naval of operation of 1941.
The event continued a series of activities commemorating the Tallinn-Kronshtadt Breakthrough. Traditionally, they begin with a noon cannon-shot at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Then a meeting on the Gutuyevsky island is followed by a march of seafarers on the Anchor Square in Kronshtadt and a tour on the Bespokoiny destroyer.
The event was organized by non-profit partnership “Tallinn Operation Memory”, Leningrad Naval Base of the Baltic Fleet and the Admiralty Coordination Council of the General Naval Headquarters.
About the memorial:
The Monument to Heroic Seafarers of the Baltic Shipping Company and the Leningrad Port is located in the park near the administrative building of Sea Port of Saint-Petersburg JSC on the Mezhevoi Canal, 5. Its creation was initiated by port workers and financed by Leningrad Commercial Seaport in 1989. Yan Neiman, the sculptor, is also known as the author of monuments to Peotr Bagration in the park on the Marat street, to Ivan Turgenev on the Manezhnaya square, to street sweeper on the Ostrovsky square, to Georgy Zhukov in the Victory Park.
The Tallinn-Kronshtadt Breakthrough (the Tallinn Breakthrough, the Tallinn Operation) was among the most ambitious maritime operations in the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. The Tallinn Base of the Baltic Fleet and Soviet troops involved in the defence of Tallinn were evacuated from the enemy's rear across the mine-studded Gulf of Finland under permanent fascist shellfire and airstrikes to Kronshtadt and Leningrad. During the operation held on 28-29 August 1941, 62 ships of 225 units that left Tallinn (warships, transport and auxiliary ships) were destroyed. The core of the Baltic Fleet (163 units) were saved and later took part in the defence of Leningrad. At least 15,000 people lost their lives during the operation.