The Motherland Calls

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The Motherland Calls
Russia / Commonwealth of Independent States
Mamaev kurgan (ОКН).JPG
Aerial view of Mamayev Kurgan and The Motherland Calls
For heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad
Unveiled 15 October 1967
Location 48°44′32.5″N 44°32′13″E / 48.742361°N 44.53694°E / 48.742361; 44.53694
near Mamayev Kurgan, Volgograd
Designed by Yevgeny Vuchetich, Nikolai Nikitin

The Motherland Calls (Russian: Родина-мать зовёт!, tr. Rodina-mat' zavyot!, lit. Homeland-Mother Is Calling!) - the compositional center of the monument-ensemble "Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad" on Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd. One of the tallest statues in the world, the tallest statue in Russia and Europe, and the tallest statue of a woman in the world.

The monument is the central part of the triptych, consisting of the monuments "Rear-Front" in Magnitogorsk and "Warrior-Liberator" in Berlin's Treptow Park. It is understood that the sword, forged on the bank of the Urals, was later raised by Motherland in Stalingrad and omitted after the Victory in Berlin.[1][2][3][4].


The work of sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich and engineer Nikolai Nikitin is a multi-meter figure of a woman stepping forward with a raised sword. The statue is an allegorical image of the Motherland, which calls on its sons and daughters to repulse the enemy, continue their further offensive.

The Motherland Calls is highly complex from an engineering point of view, due to its characteristic posture with a sword raised high in the right hand and the left hand extended in a calling gesture. The technology behind the hollow statue is based on a combination of prestressed concrete with wire ropes structure, a solution which can be found also in another work of Nikitin's, the super-tall Ostankino Tower in Moscow. The sculpture is hollow. Inside, the entire statue consists of separate cells-chambers, like rooms in a building. The thickness of the concrete walls of the sculpture is 25-30 centimeters.

The construction of the monument was started in May 1959 and completed on October 15, The sculpture at the time of creation was the highest sculpture in the world. Restoration work on the Main Monument of the monument-ensemble was held twice: in 1972 and 1986; in particular, in 1972 the sword was replaced.

It is most likely that the Vuchetich sculpted the figure from the athlete-disc player Nina Dumbadze, and the face from the wife of Vera[5]. According to various sources, Anastasia Antonovna Peshkova[6], Valentina Izotova[7] or Ekaterina Grebneva[8] posed for the sculpture. It is also believed that the statue has parallels with the figure of the "Marseillaise" on the Triumphal arch in Paris, and that the statue's pose was inspired by the statue of Nike of Samothrace.

In October 2010, work began to ensure the safety of the statue[9].

At night, the sculpture is illuminated by floodlights.


When the memorial was dedicated in 1967 it was the tallest sculpture in the world, measuring 85 metres (279 ft) from the tip of its sword to the top of the plinth.[10] The plinth measures another 2 metres (6.6 ft), and is installed on a concrete foundation with a depth of 16 metres (52 ft). The figure measures 52 metres (171 ft), and the sword 33 metres (108 ft).[11] The monument weighs over 8,000 tonnes (7,900 long tons; 8,800 short tons). The statue contains 5,500 tonnes of concrete and 2,400 tons of metal structures, the sword itself weighs 14 tons.[12]. The rigidity of the frame is supported by 99 metal cables constantly in tension.


Two hundred steps, symbolizing the 200 days of the Battle of Stalingrad, lead from the bottom of the hill to the monument. The statue appears on both the current flag and coat of arms of Volgograd Oblast.

Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov is buried in the area of the monument, as is famous Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev, who killed 225 soldiers and officers of the Nazi army and their allies in the battle of Stalingrad.

Structural problems[edit]

In 2009, reports said the statue was leaning due to changes in groundwater level causing movement of the foundations. The statue is not fixed to its foundations and is held in place only by its weight. An anonymous official claimed that it had shifted 20 centimetres and was not expected to move much farther without collapsing.[13] A program of monument restoration was developed in 2008–2009, and conservation and restoration work started in 2010.[14]

In spring 2017, a comprehensive restoration program of the monument at a cost of two billion rubles began; for a year and a half the statue will be covered by scaffolding. The Motherland Calls will also be covered with a protective mesh, the sculpture will be painted over the protective grid. All formed cracks must be repaired and more than 6,000 m2 of concrete surfaces must be restored.[15]

The sword was originally made of stainless steel, trimmed with titanium sheets. The huge mass and high windage of the sword, due to its colossal dimensions, caused a strong swinging of the sword under the influence of wind loads, which caused excessive mechanical stress in the place where the hand holding the sword was attached to the body of the sculpture. Deformations in the design of the sword also caused the movement of sheets of titanium plating, creating-pitched sound of thundering metal. Therefore, in 1972, the blade was replaced by another - entirely consisting of steel, - and in the upper part of the sword, holes were provided that made it possible to reduce its windage.[16][17]


  • The sculpture is depicted on the postage stamp of the GDR 1983.
  • A copy of the sculpture is set in the city of Manchuria, China.
Copy of the monument in China
Monument "The Motherland Call" on the GDR mark of 1983.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ильин С. Б., Лонгинов А. С., Сульдин А. В. (1986). Всенародная академия. М.: Политиздат. p. 62. 
  2. ^ Кудзоев О. А., Ваганов А. С. (1989). Скульптурная летопись края. Челябинск: Южно-Уральское книжное издательство. p. 101. ISBN 5-7688-0158-8. 
  3. ^ Слука И. (2015). "Великая Отечественная война". 100 самых знаменитых монет СССР. p. 17. 
  4. ^ Монумент скульптура «Родина-мать» в Волгограде
  5. ^ "«Родина-мать зовет!» 10 фактов о монументе". (in Russian). Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  6. ^ Иванушкина, Полина.  (2013). "«Слушайте! Я — Родина-мать!»" (17 (1694) за 24 апреля) (Аргументы и факты ed.): 69.  External link in |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Родину-мать зовут Валей". // Волгоград-Инфо. 15.06.2003. Archived from the original on 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2010-10-17.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Галкина, Анна.  "Родина-мать обосновалась на Семи Ветрах". // Ваша газета. 08.06.2011. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2011-11-15.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ Стацкий, Григорий.  "«Родина-Мать» ушла на «больничный»". // Сайт 15.10.2010. Archived from the original on 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2010-10-17.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Pearman, Hugh (5 November 2014). "The Power of Remembrance". RIBA Journal. 
  11. ^ "Памятник-ансамбль героям Сталинградской битвы на Мамаевом кургане". Подвиг народа: Памятники Великой Отечественной войны. 1980. p. 127. 
  12. ^ "Родина-мать зовет! - Военная история - Каталог статей - Танковое братство". Танковое братство. 
  13. ^ Galpin, Richard (8 May 2009). "Russia's massive leaning statue". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  14. ^ "Родина-Мать ушла на «больничный" [Motherland" goes on "sick leave"] (in Russian). 15 October 2010. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  15. ^ "Родину-мать на Мамаевом кургане оденут на полтора года в строительные леса". 19 January 2017. 
  16. ^ "Как устроен мемориал «Родина-мать»". BIGPICTURE.RU. Retrieved 2016-06-03. 
  17. ^ "Скульптура «Родина-мать зовет!» в Волгограде на фото и карте". Retrieved 2016-06-03. 

Further reading[edit]

Approximate heights of various notable statues:
1. Spring Temple Buddha 153 m (incl. 25 m pedestal and 20 m throne)
2. Statue of Liberty 93 m (incl. 47 m pedestal)
3. The Motherland Calls 91 m (excl. pedestal)
4. Christ the Redeemer 38 m (incl. 8 m pedestal)
5. Statue of David 5.17 m (excl. 2.5 m pedestal)

Scott W. Palmer, "How Memory was Made: The Construction of the Memorial to the Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad", The Russian Review 68:3 (July 2009), 373-407.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Tokyo Wan Kannon
56 m (183.7 ft)
World's tallest statue
1967 –1989
Succeeded by
Dai Kannon of Kita no Miyako park
88 m (289 ft)

Coordinates: 48°44′32.5″N 44°32′13″E / 48.742361°N 44.53694°E / 48.742361; 44.53694