Mother Motherland, Kiev
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|The Motherland Monument|
|Built||9 May 1981|
|Architect||Yevgeny Vuchetich, Vasyl Borodai|
The Motherland Monument (Ukrainian: Батьківщина-Мати) or, and more commonly referred to as, 'Rodina-Mat' (Russian: Родина-мать) is a monumental statue in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The sculpture is a part of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Kiev. Designed by Yevgeny Vuchetich, the stainless steel statue stands 62 m (203 ft) tall upon the museum building with the overall structure measuring 102 m (335 ft) and weighing 560 tons. The sword in the statue's right hand is 16 m (52 ft) long weighing 9 tons, with the left hand holding up a 13 by 8 m (43 by 26 ft) shield with the State Emblem of the Soviet Union. The Memorial hall of the Museum displays marble plaques with carved names of more than 11,600 soldiers and over 200 workers of the home-front honored during the war with the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Hero of Socialist Labor. On the hill beneath the museum, traditional flower shows are held. The sword of the statue was cut because the tip of the sword was higher than the cross of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.
In the 1950s a plan circulated of building on the spot of the current statue twin monuments of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, nearly 200 meters tall each. However, this did not go ahead. Instead, according to legend, in the 1970s a shipload of Communist Party officials and Soviet sculptor Yevgeniy Vuchetich looked across at the hills by the Lavra and decided the panorama needed a war memorial. Vuchetich had designed the other two most famous giant Soviet war memorials, the other iron lady in Volgograd and the Soviet soldier carrying German infant constructed after the war in East Berlin.
Final plans for the statue were made in 1978, with construction beginning in 1979. It was controversial, many criticised the costs involved and claimed the funds could have been better spent elsewhere. When director of construction Ivan Petrovich was asked to confirm the costs of 9 million roubles, he responded that this was a conservative estimate. Architect Vuchetich died before the structure was completed, and it was finished under the guidance of Vasyl Borodai. The statue was opened in 1981 in a ceremony attended by Soviet premier Leonid Brezhnev.
In modern day Kiev, the statue remains controversial, with some claiming it should be pulled down and its metal used for more functional purposes. Financial shortages mean that the flame, which uses up to 400 cubic metres of gas per hour, can only burn on the biggest national holidays, and rumours persist that the statue is built on unstable foundations, something strongly denied by the Kiev local government.
In popular culture
A scene in the 2006 novel World War Z depicts a Ukrainian tank commander and his surviving men fleeing in their vehicles from an abandoned and burning Kiev under the watchful gaze of the Rodina-Mat.
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