If Amsterdam or Leningrad vie for the title of Venice of the North, then Venice - what compliment is high enough? Venice, with all her civilisation and ancient beauty, Venice with her addiction to curious aquatic means of transport, yes, my friends, Venice is the Henley of the South.
That was a time when only the dead could smile, delivered from their wars, and the sign, the soul, of Leningrad dangled outside its prison-house...anna akhmatova
In the NKVD as it was now [in 1936], Stalin had a powerful and experienced instrument. At its head stood Yagoda. His deputy in security matters was Stalin’s crony Agranov, who had finished his special operations at Leningrad and handed over that city to the dreadful Sakovsky, who is said to have boasted that if he had Karl Marx to interrogate he would soon make him confess that he was agent of Bismark.Robert Conquest