The Motherland Calls

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The Motherland Calls
Soviet Union / Commonwealth of Independent States
Mamaev kurgan (ОКН).JPG
Mamayev Kurgan with the statue
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! Rodina-Mat' zovyot!), also called Homeland-Mother, Homeland-Mother Is Calling, simply The Motherland, or The Mamayev Monument, is a statue in Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd, Russia, commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad. It was designed by sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich and structural engineer Nikolai Nikitin, and declared the largest statue in the world in 1967. Today, it is the tallest statue of a woman in the world.

Compared with the later higher statues, The Motherland Calls is significantly more 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 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.

Construction and dedication[edit]

When the memorial was dedicated in 1967 it was the tallest sculpture in the world, measuring 87 metres (279 feet) from the tip of its sword to the top of the plinth. The figure itself measures 52 metres (170 feet), and the sword 33 metres (108 feet). Two hundred steps, symbolizing the 200 days of the Battle of Stalingrad, led from the bottom of the hill to the monument. The lead sculptor was Yevgeny Vuchetich, and the significant structural engineering challenges of the 7,900 tonnes (7,800 long tons; 8,700 short tons) of concrete[1] sculpture were handled by Nikolai Nikitin. 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 Axis soldiers in the battle of Stalingrad.

Structural problems[edit]

In 2009, the statue was claimed to be 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 be able to move much farther without collapsing.[1] A program of monument restoration was developed in 2008-2009, and comprehensive conservation and restoration work started in 2010.[2]

See also[edit]

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