October 15 1967, exactly fifty years ago, in the hero-city of Volgograd (Stalingrad) the construction of the Motherland Calls Monument was completed. It can rightfully be called one of the symbols of the military prowess of our country. The sculpture is dedicated to the great victory of the Soviet people over Nazi Germany and for all known and understandable reasons installed in the city, which is also a true symbol of victory.
The fact that in Stalingrad it is necessary to erect a monument that would remind not only the residents of the city and Soviet people, but also the whole world about the feat of the city, the authorities began to think almost immediately after the Battle of Stalingrad and the beginning of a turning point in the war. The war had not yet ended, and in 1944 a competition was already announced for the creation of the monument. Everyone could take part in it. Therefore, the competition commission received sketches of the monument - both from famous Soviet architects, sculptors, artists, and from ordinary citizens, primarily from front-line soldiers, soldiers and officers who knew firsthand what the Battle of Stalingrad was. There were a variety of offers. For example, Andrei Burov proposed to build a pyramid 150 meters high with a frame of remelted tanks. There were other proposals - to make a stela crowned with a bust of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, etc.
It is noteworthy that the sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich, who was later to create a project of the monument, did not participate in this competition. As for the motherland’s artistic image itself, it gained All-Union fame back in 1941, when the artist Irakli Taidze created the most famous poster of the Great Patriotic War. It is the image of the Motherland that formed the basis of the triptych, which includes a sculpture in Volgograd (the triptych consists, as is well known, also from the monuments to the Rear-Front in Magnitogorsk and the Soldier-Liberator in Berlin's Treptow Park).
In the end, as we know, the construction of the monument was entrusted to the sculptor Yevgeny Viktorovich Vuchetich (1908-1974). A professional sculptor, by the beginning of 1940's, who had already achieved serious success and fame, Yevgeny Vuchetich volunteered for the front. He, a thirty-three-year-old sculptor, became a simple machine-gun soldier, and by the end of 1942, he already bore the rank of captain. After the concussion during the storming of the city of Lyuban, Evgeny Viktorovich was sent for treatment, and then transferred by the military artist to the MB Art Military Studio. Grekov in Moscow. He worked there until 1960.
Back in 1946, Vuchetich was appointed project manager for the creation of a memorial ensemble for Soviet Army soldiers in Treptow Park in liberated Berlin. In addition to Vuchetich, architect Ya. B. Belopolsky, artist A. V. Gorpenko, engineer S. S. Valerius worked on the monument. In the center of the composition in the Berlin park, as you know, there is a bronze Soviet warrior who stands on the fragments of the swastika and holds a lowered sword in one hand, and supports the German girl with the other hand. Interestingly, in the initial version of the draft, the soldier held an automatic rifle in his hand, but Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin himself asked to replace the automatic rifle with a Vuchetich sword.
Construction of the monument in Volgograd began much later - in the 1959 year, six years after Stalin’s death and fourteen years after the victory in the Great Patriotic War. Most likely, creating a sculpture, Vuchetich was inspired by the figure of "Marseillaise" on the triumphal arch in Paris and the statue of Nicky of Samothrace. However, who posed for Vuchetich when creating a sketch of the sculpture is still unknown. There are several versions. According to the most common, the sculptor sculpted the face of the statue from Vera Nikolaevna’s own wife, and the figure from the famous disco woman Nina Yakovlevna Dumbadze. This version was voiced at the time by Valentina Klyushina, the former deputy director of the monument to the “Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad” ensemble.
However, there are still a few women who claim to be the “model” for the statue of the Motherland-motherland. In 2003, pensioner Valentina Izotova, who once worked as a waitress at the Volgograd restaurant, said that Motherland Vuchetich sculpted it from her. In 2012, 79-year-old Anastasia Peshkova from Barnaul made the same statement. Finally, Ekaterina Grebneva, in the past - a sports gymnast, also stated that Vuchetich sculpted a sculpture including from her, but Grebneva nevertheless claims that the sculptor created the image of the Motherland and several models at once and she was not the only one who posed Evgeny Vuchetichu.
Separate история - The sword, which is holding “Motherland”. Since the Volgograd monument is part of a triptych, then the sword is associated with swords on other monuments. At the monument "Front - front", installed in the city of Magnitogorsk, the worker passes the sword to the soldier. Then in Volgograd this sword raises the “Motherland” and in Berlin it is lowered by the “Warrior - Liberator”, completing the liberation of the world from Nazism. The sword itself has a length of 33 meters and the entire 14 tons. It was originally made of stainless steel and sheathed with sheets of titanium. But sheets in windy weather rattled and in the future could contribute to the destruction of the structure. Therefore, in the 1972 year, five years after the installation of the monument, the blade of the sword was replaced - now it was completely made of fluorinated steel.
Mamaev Kurgan, located on the right bank of the Volga River, in the Central District of the city of Volgograd, was chosen as the location for the sculpture. From September 1942 to January 1943, there were fierce battles. Mamaev Kurgan became a mass grave for 35 thousands of people. As historians emphasize, per square meter of the mound accounted for from 500 to 1200 splinters and bullets, therefore, in the spring of 1943, there was not even grass here.
The Motherland Motherland sculpture itself was made of reinforced concrete weighing 5500 tons and steel structures (total weight 2400 tons). The monument was cast once, without seams. As you know, it is hollow inside, and the thickness of the concrete walls is 25-30. Inside the monument are 99 steel ropes intended for tightening the structure, a ladder and a utility room to monitor the condition of the steel ropes. The height of the monument “Motherland Calling” was 85 meters.
Technical calculations for the creation of the monument were led by well-known Soviet architect and civil engineer, Doctor of Technical Sciences Nikolai V. Nikitin (1907-1973), at the time of the construction of the monument, he worked as chief designer of the Mosproject Institute and was a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Construction and Architecture. It was Nikitin who designed the foundations and supporting frames for such monuments of Soviet architecture as the Palace of Soviets, the Main Building of Moscow State University on Vorobyovy Hills, the Central Stadium in Luzhniki, the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. That is, it was the most experienced and talented Soviet architect, and therefore he was entrusted with such important work as the development of the Motherland Motherboard in Volgograd.
The grand opening of the monument took place on October 15 1967 of the year. An impressive delegation of Soviet state, party and military leaders arrived in Volgograd to participate in it. The ceremony was headed by Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee. Present and prominent Soviet commanders. Of course, the Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union, Marshal of the Soviet Union, Andrei Antonovich Grechko, arrived. Legendary marshals arrived in the Battle of Stalingrad. Marshal of the Soviet Union Andrei Ivanovich Eremenko directly commanded the Southeast (Stalingrad) front with the rank of colonel general. Marshal of the Soviet Union Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov during the Battle of Stalingrad in the rank of lieutenant general commanded the 62 army as part of the South-Eastern Front. It was precisely the units and units of the 62 Army that were the most distinguished during the heroic defense of Stalingrad. By the way, Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov was then buried, according to his wish, at the foot of Mamayev Kurgan - in the city, for the defense of which he and his subordinates did everything possible and impossible.
As for the other part of the triptych - the “Rear-to-Front” monument in Magnitogorsk, it was built in the 1979 year, after Yevgeny Viktorovich Vuchetich died in the 1974 year. Therefore, the sculpture was developed by Lev Nikolaevich Golovnitsky. Although the monument in Magnitogorsk was built much later both in Berlin and Volgograd, it is he who is considered the first part of the triptych, since it depicts a worker and a warrior. The worker hands the sword to the warrior, which he forged in order for the warrior to defend the Motherland.
For a long time, the statue of the Motherland remained without the pedestal of the tallest statue in the world, until 1996-meter Shakyamuni Buddha statue was installed in 88 in the city of Wuxi in Jiangsu Province in China. Then, in the list of the world's tallest statues, the Motherland shifted even further, but still only a few Buddha and deity statues in China, Japan, Thailand and Myanmar still outrun it. Until now, the statue of the Motherland remains the highest statue in Europe and throughout the post-Soviet space. It is much higher than the Statue of Liberty - the main symbolic sculpture of the United States and the statue of Christ the Savior in Rio de Janeiro.
In the half century that has passed since its installation, the Motherland Calling Monument, of course, was touched by time. His condition especially worsened after the “wild nineties”, when the state did not have much to do with the state of monuments and monuments, and the financial situation in the country was far from being the best. In the mass media, it was very often reported that the Motherland in Volgograd was very bent over and is about to fall. However, knowledgeable people claim that this is not the case. First, designer Nikitin, who led the construction of the monument, laid down the allowable slope in 470 mm. Now the slope of the statue is 277 mm. Moreover, during the last five years, Motherland even reduced the deviation somewhat - by 11 mm. Experts say that this is the result of the reaction of the material to changes in temperature. Secondly, the statue of Motherland stands on a heavy pedestal and is not fixed on the mound. Since the pedestal is much heavier than the statue itself, such a construction simply cannot fall down without any external influence.
The only thing that is necessary for the sculpture is “redecoration” in order to revive and make its appearance more elegant. In March, 2017, it became known that restoration work to improve the condition of the monument should begin. At the first stage of restoration work, industrial climbers will have to remove peeling pieces of concrete from the surface of the monument so that they do not fall down and injure people. Also at this stage will be carried out alternately replacing the mounting hardware inside the sculpture itself. Those 99 steel cables, which we wrote about above, will be replaced with new ones. By the way, each such cable has a guarantee of fifty years of operation. Now their time has come to an end and it is necessary to replace the ropes with new ones. After performing this task, all 6500 square meters of the monument will be covered with a special compound that has water-repellent properties and must protect the statue from the effects of rain and snow.
The second stage of the restoration of the sculpture should begin next year, just after the FIFA World Cup - 2018, which will take place, including in Volgograd - at the Volgograd Arena stadium, which is opposite to Mamaev Kurgan, will be completed. After the championship, it was decided to restore the statue because in 2018, fans and tourists should be able to see it without scaffolding. In general, the work is planned to be completed by 9 May 2019 of the year - the 75 anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
The monument "Motherland Calls" is the most important landmark of Volgograd, its silhouette is depicted on the coat of arms and flag of the Volgograd region. I would like to hope that both the federal and regional authorities will not forget about the monument and maintain its condition regardless of memorable dates. The last veterans of the Great Patriotic War are leaving, the generation of their children is aging, but the memory of the great feat of the Soviet people will live for centuries thanks to such magnificent monuments as the Motherland.