Despite the enthusiasm of the people, a significant part of national economy has been ruined by the war
and most people had to live in rather primitive conditions, work hard and keep faith in a
brighter future. Food rationing was a common feature throughout the 1940s. Since 2.8 million square
meters of city housing was destroyed and another 2.2 million square meters damaged, housing became a
major problem. Until the 1960's most of the people in Leningrad lived in the so-called "communal" (i.e.
shared) apartments. Against all the odds the city was transformed. Unlike many other cities, Leningrad
was not modernized, but restored to the highest pre-war standards. The palaces of Peterhof and Pushkin
had to be almost fully rebuilt. The careful restoration took some time and tremendous amounts of money.
Some of the suburban palaces, like the Aleksandrovsky Palace of Nicholas II in Pushkin, still await
restoration. City museums reopened swiftly after most of the war damage had been repaired. But a blue
sign of Bombardment Warning on Nevsky Prospect and the green mounds of the Piskaryovskoye Memorial
Cemetery still remind us of the tragic past of Leningrad.
Saint Petersburg Today
The 70's and the early 80's were a period of stability for the Soviet Union and for Leningrad. Though
political freedoms were largely limited, most of the city's population enjoyed relative prosperity.
But when the government had initiated the reforms known worldwide as Perestroika all stability has soon