Motherland Monument

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Motherland Monument
Музей історії України у Другій світовій війні.jpg
Coordinates50°25′35″N 30°33′47″E / 50.426521°N 30.563187°E / 50.426521; 30.563187Coordinates: 50°25′35″N 30°33′47″E / 50.426521°N 30.563187°E / 50.426521; 30.563187
LocationPechersk, Kyiv, Ukraine
DesignerYevgeny Vuchetich, Vasyl Borodai
Height102 m (335 ft)
Opening date9 May 1981
Dedicated toMotherland
WebsiteOfficial webpage

The Motherland Monument (Ukrainian: Батьківщина-Мати, romanizedBatkivshchýna-Máty) is a monumental statue in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The sculpture is a part of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War.[1]


The stainless steel statue stands 62 m (203 ft) tall upon the museum main building with the overall structure measuring 102 m (335 ft) including its base and weighing 560 tonnes. The sword in the statue's right hand is 16 m (52 ft) long weighing 9 tonnes, with the left hand holding up a 13 by 8 m (43 by 26 ft) shield emblazoned with the hammer and sickle emblem of the Soviet Union. Initially, the statue was drawn by the sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich.[2] Vuchetich based the statue on the Ukrainian painter Nina Danyleiko.[3] [4] When Vuchetich died in 1974, the project was continued by Vasyl Borodai, who used Ukrainian sculptor Halyna Kalchenko, a daughter of the prime minister of Ukraine Nikifor Kalchenko, as the model.[2]

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 Labour. On the hill beneath the museum, traditional flower shows are held. The sword of the statue was cut[when?] because the tip of the sword was higher than the cross of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra.[5]


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 m (660 ft) tall each.[6] However, this did not go ahead. Instead, according to legend, in the 1970s, a group of Communist Party officials and Soviet sculptor Yevgeny 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 Motherland Calls in Volgograd and the Soviet soldier carrying German infant constructed after the war in East Berlin. The statue was modeled after one of his coworkers, Mila Hazinsky,[citation needed] however after Vuchetich died in 1974, the design of the memorial was substantially reworked and only the eyes and eyebrows remained from the original face. It was then completed under the guidance of Vasyl Borodai.

Final plans for the statue were made in 1978, with construction beginning in 1979. It was controversial, with many criticising 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 rubles, he responded that this was a conservative estimate. The statue was opened in 1981 in a ceremony attended by Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, himself a Ukrainian.

In modern-day Kyiv, 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 m3 (14,000 cu ft) 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 Kyiv local government.[7][8]

In April 2015, the parliament of Ukraine outlawed Soviet and communist symbols, street names and monuments, in an attempt to decommunize Ukraine.[9] However, World War II monuments are excluded from these laws.[10] Director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance Volodymyr Viatrovych stated in February 2018 that the Soviet hammer and sickle on the shield of the monument should be removed to comply with the country's decommunization laws and replace it with the Ukrainian trident. As of 2022, despite the derussification and decommunization occurring in Ukraine in response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the monument has not been modified.[11]

In popular culture[edit]

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 Kyiv under the watchful gaze of the monument.[12]

The monument was the site of a pit stop during the tenth episode of The Amazing Race 10.[13]

The monument is prominently featured in the music video for the song "Get Out" by the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit.[14]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kirilenko Museum of the Great Patriotic War renamed". PDA Pravda. Retrieved 2016-09-09. (Google translate)
  2. ^ a b "Це потрібно відчути" [This needs to be experienced]. Olevsk city portal (in Ukrainian). 28 October 2010. Archived from the original on 2017-12-18. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Народне малярство Ніни Данилейко" [National artistry of Nina Danyleiko]. Ivan Honchar Museum (in Ukrainian). 24 May 2013. Archived from the original on 16 August 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  4. ^ Borysenko, M. (22 August 2008). "Ніна Данилейко народила шестеро дітей" [Nina Danyleiko gave birth to six children]. Gazeta (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Motherland Monument". Ukrainian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Archived from the original on 2015-05-04.
  6. ^ "Forgotten Soviet Plans For Kyiv". Kyiv Post. 28 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04.
  7. ^ Bayer, Martin (11 August 2010). ""Mother Motherland" (Kiev) and more works by Vuchetich". Wartist. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  8. ^ "Ukraine Kiev Sights | Mother Motherland Statue-Monument". 1981-05-09. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  9. ^ Ukraine MPs back ban on Nazi and Communist propaganda, BBC News. 9 April 2015
  10. ^ Shevchenko, Vitaly (14 April 2015). "Goodbye, Lenin: Ukraine moves to ban communist symbols". BBC News. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
    Poroshenko signed the laws about decomunization. Ukrayinska Pravda. 15 May 2015
    Poroshenko signs laws on denouncing Communist, Nazi regimes, Interfax-Ukraine. 15 May 2015
  11. ^ (in Ukrainian) De-communism in Ukraine is actually completed - Vyatrovich, Ukrayinska Pravda (10 February 2018)
  12. ^ Brooks, Max, World War Z, p.118, Duckworth Overlook, ISBN 978-0-7156-3996-2
  13. ^ "The Amazing Race 10 - Episode 10 Summary". Reality TV World. 19 November 2006. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  14. ^ "Frightened Rabbit - "Get Out" [Official]". Vimeo. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.

External links[edit]