“The Motherland Calls” – Huge Russian Statue

On November 18, 2015 by Tim Newman

The Mother Land Statue - Volgograd from above

The Motherland Calls, or Homeland-Mother is a whopper of a statue that stands proud in Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd, Russia.

The statue was built to commemorate the Battle of Stalingrad, a battle considered by many historians to be the largest and bloodiest confrontation in the history of war – more than 2.2 million military personnel were involved and more than 1.7 million were killed, wounded or captured.

In 1967, when The Motherland Calls was brought to life, it was the tallest statue in the world – 85 metres from plinth top to sword point. It has since lost that title (a couple of times), but it is still the tallest statue of a woman (if you discount little Miss Liberty‘s pedestal).

A little while back, I wrote about the statues of Belarus and the statues of Mongolia. I also wrote about a massive Russian cubist statue and the huge Leshan Buddha. All of the above are wonderful, of course, but this fine lady really is something else.

The monument builders of the Soviet years were busy people. Not only did they build avant garde heroic monuments scattered liberally across the unfathomable expanses of the former Soviet Union, they also found time to create some of the most ornate bus stops in the Multiverse.

Despite all of this innovation and travel, the monument builders still found time to erect this massive lady. I want to call it a monstrosity, but it’s the opposite, but I don’t have a word for the opposite of monstrosity.

Although the height of the Motherland Calls statue has been beaten, the technical prowess used in the statue outstrips the newer, taller efforts. The position of the arms and the use of a combination of prestressed concrete with wire rope structures makes it pretty special.

The lead up to the statue consists of one step for each of the 200 days of the Battle of Stalingrad.

The Mother Land Statue - From Platform

It’s not all win, win, win with the Motherland Calls statue though. There have been structural beefs along the way. In 2009 there was a change in the ground water, giving the mighty sword wielder a slightly jaunty angle. Apparently jaunty angles aren’t ideal if you weigh 7,900 tonnes.

This angle was particularly worrying as the large lady is not actually fixed to her plinth, she is just held in position by her shear and mighty weight.

A large-scale Motherland Calls conservation project got under way in 2010, so hopefully she will stand the test of time.

The Mother Land Statue - Volgograd - side view

As an aside, Volgograd has had a few name changes over the years, previously it was called Stalingrad, and before that was known as Tsaritsyn. I only mention it because their coat of arms is amazing, and I couldn’t very well not include it, now could I?:


And this is the flag of the Volgograd Oblast:

Volgograd Oblast Flag

As I mentioned, The Motherland Calls is in memory of the Battle of Stalingrad during WWII, which took place in Volgograd (then Stalingrad). The battle lasted over 5 months and reduced the entire town to rubble. Many historians consider the German’s defeat here as one of the major turning points of the war.

Today, there is a museum at the site of the statue to commemorate the battle, and the war at large.

Take a look at this beast:

The Mother Land Statue - Volgograd in the distance

The Mother Land Statue - Volgograd shouting woman The Mother Land Statue - Volgograd with roll cloud The Mother Land Statue - Volgograd





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