New Russian art installation commemorates taking of Nazi Reichstag

A new art installation has gone on display in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, depicting the Soviet Army’s invasion of Berlin in the final days of World War Two.

The art installation is a 3-D modern artwork and features a high wall and columns, representing the German Reichstag, surrounded by rubble, debris, Soviet soldiers and their weaponry.

The taking of Berlin, and particularly the Reichstag (or government building), at the end of World War Two is seen in Russia as the moment the achieved salvation for everything the Soviet people suffered under the Nazis.

The launch of the art installation comes as Russia commemorates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two and its victory over Nazi forces.

The artwork has been designed and created by a group of volunteers who research and locate the remains of Soviet soldiers and civilians killed during the war. They are on a mission to bury all of those who gave their lives in a formal and respectful way, rather than leaving their remains to be lost forever.

Soviet veterans have been shown the art installation in advance of its official launch. One veteran Nikolai Belyayev, who is now 92, took part in the actual raid on the German Reichstag says it is a close representation of what actually happened 70 years ago, the ABC News reports.

By the time Soviet troops had made their way into central Berlin, it was the final phase of the battle for the city. The initial phase had been outside of the city and the area to the east of the River Elbe, as three groups of Soviet Army troops advanced in from the east.

By April the Soviet troops had reached the outer suburbs of Berlin, and within four days Berlin had been surrounded. Inside the city troops had to fight literally street by street to gain control from the Nazis and this continued for another week before the Nazi General Helmuth Weidling surrendered to the Soviet Lieutenant General Vasily Chuikov.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE