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On the evening of 23 September 1924 hurricane-strength winds blowing along the Baltic Sea and up the Gulf of Finland pushed a 380 centimetre wall of water back up the River Neva flooding the city of Leningrad. The floodwaters were indiscriminate, sweeping through the grand architectural ensembles of the city’s historic centre, as well as outlying residential and industrial districts. Over two-thirds of the city was inundated, and millions of roubles of damage was inflicted on the city.
In this presentation Rob Dale explores the events of this remarkable urban disaster, and places them in context of Leningrad’s (St. Petersburg’s) long history of flooding. The flood and its aftermath allows the historian to take a snapshot of urban life in the early years of Bolshevik power. The reactions and responses to the flood reveal a great deal about the nature of state power, but also the limits and extend of public support for the Bolshevik regime.
Dr Rob Dale, Lecturer in Russian History, Newcastle University
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