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Volgograd is the capital of the Volgograd Oblast in southern Russia and has a population of 1,011,417. This link was established in 1944.
The friendship between Coventry and Volgograd, former Stalingrad, was cemented as a result of both cities experiencing the devastation of the Second World War. The battle of Stalingrad was one of the key turning points during the Second World War. The epic battle for the city raged from spring 1942 to February 1943. More than 1,000 tons of bombs were dropped on the city, but Stalin initially forbade any evacuation from the city, even of children. The fighting in the city was ferocious, hand to hand combat taking place within the city itself.
At the time of the onslaught on the Russian City, women from Coventry sent messages of hope to the women of Stalingrad having experienced the Coventry Blitz just a few years earlier. The first message from women of Coventry to the women of Stalingrad saying "From this city scarred and ravaged by the arch enemy of civilisation, our hearts go out to you, who now face slaughter and suffering even more fearful". During the devastating Battle of Stalingrad 900 Coventry women signed their names (which were then embroidered) on the tablecloth and sent with a message of sympathy to the women of Stalingrad. This tablecloth has an honoured place in the Panorama Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad.
During wartime the people of Coventry also sent aid (supplies and medicines) to the people of Stalingrad.
Volgograd, the capital of Volgograd Oblast, is an important industrial, commercial, and trans-shipment centre of Russia. A railway centre and a major River Volga port, it is linked to the River Don by the Volga-Don Canal, constructed between 1950 and 1957. A large hydroelectric power dam is located just north of the city. Among the main industries in Volgograd are petroleum refining, shipbuilding, and the manufacture of aluminium, chemicals, processed food, farm machinery, iron and steel, and forest products. The University of Volgograd is located in the city. Volgograd was founded in 1589 as Tsaritsyn, a fortress on the south eastern frontier of Russia.
Previously known as Stalingrad, during World War II the city was a strategically located industrial centre, and a vital German objective. A large German force mounted an assault on the city on August 20, 1942, after a period of heavy air raids. A successful Soviet counter-offensive began on November 19, and on February 2, 1943 the Sixth German Army surrendered, so ending the German advance into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). German casualties alone totalled more than 300,000, and the Soviet city was almost completely destroyed. Rebuilding began immediately after the war. The city was renamed Volgograd in 1961.