On March 20, 2021, members of the Lutheran Church of Koltushi and Bishop Ivan Laptev, Bishop Emeritus Arri Kugappi, and Pastor Ivan Hutter went on the Road of Life to a place on the shore of Lake Ladoga. “The Road of Life” is the former ice road winter transport route across the frozen Lake Ladoga, which provided the only access to the besieged city of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) during WW2.
They held a prayer service in remembrance of the ethnic Finnish population forcibly deported by the authorities from their historical homeland in Vsevolozhsky District, Leningrad Oblast. By Decree #001714-a of March 20, 1942, ethnic Finns were to be evacuated by force. 44,737 people were deported from St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast to areas in Siberia and the Extreme North. During that period, the area around Vsevolozhskaya Railroad Station depopulated by 40 percent as this was a historical area of residence of Ingrian Finns. On April 26, 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR passed the law “On the Rehabilitation of Repressed Peoples.” It wasn’t until the 1990’s that the Ingrian Finns could fully legitimately return to their Homeland.