narration :: the land speaks :: voiced by Larisa Medvedeva
"The dead cannot be dishonored." --- Святослав Игоревич :: Svyatoslav I of Kiev
The Land: Today the world shudders to hear my name, "Stalingrad". They fear what may be the outcome of this latest struggle on my front. But I was not always called so.
Once, I was nameless. Knowing no boundaries, I made welcome all who tread. Within me flowed a rhythm of the grasses, the waters, the animals and the nomad tribes.
Indo-European language was born of the same steppe womb which made me. Also were born armies, conquering in chariots drawn by oxen. To the north, the east, the west and the south, Scyths, Sarmatians and Hunns spread themselves from my confluence.
Near me a Queen of the Golden Horde made her palace. On my breast were nurtured Tatars. Their dead built homes in my soil, apartments of bones reaching into the sky. Enduring through centuries, Mamayev Kurgan stands grassy today. Watch tower. Proud. So in death Turkic warriors still serve.
Tatars named my neighbors: Sary-Su, the yellow river. Sary-Sin, the yellow island. But Tatars threatened Russia and inspired the building of a fortress on my yellow island. This fortress, Tsaritsyn, gave me my first name. And I became a gate; no one must pass me unless Russia willed it so.
I, Tsaritsyn. I, Russian.
Through flood, through fire I remained. In the struggles for possession I remained. Under Cossacks, Tatars, and Russians I remained. Through Civil War I remained.
Names shadow my streets. Ivan, Peter, Pugachev, Razin, Bulavin, Stalin. Tsars, Whites, Reds, Soviets. As my buildings and population grew so did my usefulness. A hub of industry and trade, for the Revolution I was a mighty prize. After the Reds won me I received the Order of the Red Banner. In honor of the Red leader Stalin, I am now known as Stalingrad.
I, Stalingrad. I, Russian. I, soldier.
When the Great Patriotic War began my factories were turned to the making of armaments. And now the eye of the German fascist is turned to my possession. A wealth of land and water stretch forth from me, tempting all men with the powers of conquest and trade. My yellow river carries Russia's lifeblood. To claim me is to claim these powers.
I, crossroads. I, gate.
It is August 22, 1942. Tomorrow the bombing begins.