The Motherland Calls

Coordinates: 48°44′33″N 44°32′13″E / 48.74250°N 44.53694°E / 48.74250; 44.53694
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The Motherland Calls
For the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad
Unveiled15 October 1967
Location48°44′33″N 44°32′13″E / 48.74250°N 44.53694°E / 48.74250; 44.53694
Designed byYevgeny Vuchetich, Nikolai Nikitin
Statistics source:
3D model, click to interact.

The Motherland Calls (Russian: Родина-мать зовёт!, tr. Rodina-mat' zovyot!) is the compositional centre of the monument-ensemble "Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad" on Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd, Russia. The statue is designed in the Soviet style of socialist realism. It was created by sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich and structural engineer Nikolai Nikitin, and declared the tallest statue in the world in 1967. At 85 m (279 ft), it is the tallest statue in Europe, the tallest in the eastern hemisphere outside of Asia and the tallest statue (excluding pedestals) of a woman in the world. If pedestals are included, that title belongs to the Statue of Liberty in New York.[1]

Together with the Warrior Liberator in Treptower Park, Berlin and Rear-front Memorial in Magnitogorsk, the monument is a part of a triptych.


The work of sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich and engineer Nikolai Nikitin is an 85-metre (279 ft) 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 and return to the attack.

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 sculpture is hollow. The technology behind the hollow statue is based on a combination of prestressed concrete with wire ropes, a solution which can also be found in another work of Nikitin's, the Ostankino Tower in Moscow. Inside, the entire statue consists of separate cells or chambers, like rooms in a building. The concrete walls of the sculpture are 25–30 cm (9.8–11.8 in) thick.[2]

The construction of the monument was started in May 1959 and completed on 15 October 1967.[3] It was the tallest sculpture in the world at the time of creation. Restoration work on the main monument of the monument complex was done in 1972, when the sword was replaced by another entirely consisting of stainless steel.[2]

It is most likely that Vuchetich sculpted the figure from the discus thrower Nina Dumbadze, and the face from his wife Vera.[4] According to various sources, Valentina Izotova[5] or Ekaterina Grebneva[6] posed for the sculpture. It is also believed that the statue has parallels with the figure of the "Marseillaise" on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

At night, the sculpture is illuminated by floodlights. In 2018, it was illuminated as part of a light show titled "The Light of the Great Victory", marking the 72nd Victory Day on 9 May in Russia.[7]


When the memorial was dedicated in 1967 it was the tallest statue in the world, measuring 85 m (279 ft) from the tip of its sword to the top of the plinth. It lost this title to Japan's Dai Kannon of Kita no Miyako park in 1989.[8] The plinth measures another 2 m (6.6 ft), and is installed on a concrete foundation with a depth of 16 m (52 ft). The figure measures 52 m (171 ft), and the sword 33 m (108 ft).[9] The monument weighs over 8,000 tonnes (8,800 short tons). The statue contains 5,500 tonnes (6,100 short tons) of concrete and 2,400 tonnes (2,600 short tons) of metal structures, and the sword itself weighs 14 tonnes (15 short tons).[10] 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.[1] The statue appears on both the current flag and coat of arms of Volgograd Oblast.

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

The monument is the central part of the triptych, consisting of the monuments Rear-front in Magnitogorsk and "Warrior-Liberator" in Berlin's Treptower Park. It is understood that the sword, forged by the side of the Urals, was later raised by the Motherland in Stalingrad and dropped after the Victory in Berlin.[11][12][13][14][clarification needed]

A copy of the monument in China

There exists a replica of the monument in Manzhouli, China.

Structural problems[edit]

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 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 a pitched sound of thundering metal. Therefore, in 1972, the blade was replaced by another – entirely consisting of stainless steel – and in the upper part of the sword, holes were provided that made it possible to reduce its windage.[15][16]

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 cm (7.9 in) and was not expected to move much further without collapsing.[17] A program of monument restoration was developed in 2008–2009, and conservation and restoration work started in 2010.[18]

In spring 2017, a comprehensive restoration program of the monument at a cost of two billion rubles ($35,000,000) began. The wire ropes inside the statue were replaced to ensure its stability, the interior and all formed cracks were repaired and more than 6,000 m2 (65,000 sq ft) of concrete surfaces were restored.[19] The restoration of the statue was completed by April 2020.[20]


Approximate heights of various notable statues:
  1. Statue of Unity 240 m (790 ft) (incl. 58 m (190 ft) base)
  2. Spring Temple Buddha 153 m (502 ft) (incl. 25 m (82 ft) pedestal and 20 m (66 ft) throne)
  3. Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) 93 m (305 ft) (incl. 47 m (154 ft) pedestal)
  4. The Motherland Calls 87 m (285 ft) (incl. 2 m (6 ft 7 in) pedestal)
  5. Christ the Redeemer 38 m (125 ft) (incl. 8 m (26 ft) pedestal)
  6. Michelangelo's David 5.17 m (17.0 ft) (excl. 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) plinth)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sobering memorials and Europe's tallest statue: What England fans can expect in Volgograd". The Telegraph.(subscription required)
  2. ^ a b "The Motherland Calls – Volgograd, Russia – Leading Landmarks". Tutorial At Home. 27 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Mamayev Kurgan Memorial Complex "To the Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad" – UNESCO World Heritage Centre". UNESCO World Heritage.
  4. ^ ""Родина-мать зовет!" 10 фактов о монументе". (in Russian). Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Родину-мать зовут Валей". // Волгоград-Инфо. 15 June 2003. Archived from the original on 28 April 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  6. ^ Галкина, Анна. "Родина-мать обосновалась на Семи Ветрах". // Ваша газета. 8 June 2011. Archived from the original on 16 September 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  7. ^ "8th May, 2017. A view of the Motherland Calls monument illuminated as part of a light show titled "The Light of the Great Victory" and marking the 73nd". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  8. ^ Pearman, Hugh (5 November 2014). "The Power of Remembrance". RIBA Journal.
  9. ^ "Памятник-ансамбль героям Сталинградской битвы на Мамаевом кургане". Подвиг народа: Памятники Великой Отечественной войны. 1980. p. 127.
  10. ^ "Родина-мать зовет! – Военная история – Каталог статей – Танковое братство". Танковое братство.
  11. ^ Ilin, S. B.; Longinov, A. S.; Suldin, A. V. (1986). Всенародная академия. М.: Politizdat. p. 62.
  12. ^ Kudzoyev, O. A.; Vaganov, A. S. (1989). Скульптурная летопись края. Chelyabinsk: South Ural Book Publishing House. p. 101. ISBN 5-7688-0158-8.
  13. ^ Слука И. (2015). "Великая Отечественная война". 100 самых знаменитых монет СССР. p. 17.
  14. ^ Монумент скульптура «Родина-мать» в Волгограде
  15. ^ "Как устроен мемориал "Родина-мать"". BIGPICTURE.RU. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Скульптура "Родина-мать зовет!" в Волгограде на фото и карте". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  17. ^ Galpin, Richard (8 May 2009). "Russia's massive leaning statue". BBC News. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Родина-Мать ушла на «больничный" [Motherland" goes on "sick leave"] (in Russian). 15 October 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  19. ^ "Родину-мать на Мамаевом кургане оденут на полтора года в строительные леса". 19 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Открытие монумента "Родина-мать зовет!" после реставрации отложено из-за коронавируса". Retrieved 29 April 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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. JSTOR 20621047.

External links[edit]

Media related to The Motherland Calls at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Tokyo Wan Kannon
56 m (183.7 ft)
World's tallest statue
Succeeded by