Люди и домашние животные в блокадном Ленинграде

Translated title of the contribution: People and pets in besieged leningrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article provides an insight into the relations between people and pets during the siege of Leningrad. Mass historical consciousness features different, sometimes distorted ideas and myths about this topic. The issue of eating pets was a taboo in the official discourse and historiography. The relationship between people and pets was covered by memoirs and notes of the siege survivors and by scholars. However, the authors are not aware of any studies focusing specifically on this topic. Based on diaries and letters of the siege period and later memoirs, the article deals with the relations between people and pets in the tragic circumstances and contemporary myths about the past. Most of the dramatic accounts, provided by the survivors, date back to the first autumn of the siege and the winter of 1941-1942. City authorities and law-enforcement bodies had to turn a blind eye to people eating pets and did not comment on it. Starvation frequently forced people to engage in the bizarre and previously unthinkable activity - pet hunting. City-dwellers primarily tried to feed this high-caloric 'delicacy' to children, often concealing its true nature. Laboratory animals also used to save lives. Pets were traded at the improvised markets. Eating pets could be life-saving, but didn't guarantee the survival. The popular legend about the delivery of cats from eastern parts of the country, which is still circulating, was never documented. However, the persistence of this myth reflects the wish of the survivors to comprehend their terrible experience and overcome the trauma.

Translated title of the contributionPeople and pets in besieged leningrad
Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)158-174
Number of pages17
JournalVestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo Universiteta, Istoriya
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

Scopus subject areas

  • History


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