George Bush Sr. and his spouse visit memorial to Leningrad's Defenders

George Bush Sr. and his spouse have visited the memorial to Heroic Defenders of Leningrad (the name of St Petersburg under the Soviets).

The 41st U.S. President was accompanied by French ex-President Giscard d'Estaing, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and prominent Sovietologist Zbigniew Brzezinski.

George Bush Sr. lay flowers to the monument of Leningrad defenders. After that, the delegation members visited the Memorial Hall of the monument where they were told about the city's life during the Nazi blockade.

The former U.S. president and his wife were especially interested in the exhibits showing the life of the city in those heavy days: a radio and a violin whose owner took part in the performance of Shostakovich's 7th Symphony in the besieged Leningrad.

George Bush Sr. was struck by the fact that cultural life never stopped in the city, even despite bombings.

He asked about Russia's losses in WWII and about how many people were killed in the besieged Leningrad.

The guests were shown wartime actuality shots and left their entries in the guestbook.

Today's program of the delegation will be continued by a visit to the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo near St Petersburg.

The high guests will visit the Mariinsky Theatre on Saturday where a gala concert, with Mariinsky ballet stars participating, will be performed in their honour.

The 41st U.S. president arrived in St Petersburg Thursday evening on a private visit. George and Barbara Bush will leave St Petersburg on Sunday morning.

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