The Motherland Calls statue is situated on top of the Mamaev Kurgan hill, the highest point in the city of Volgograd. As the hill offers a clear view over the whole city and the River Volga, it saw heavy fighting during the Battle of Stalingrad, changing hands a number of times. The statue was designed by sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich (1908-1974) and structural engineer Nikolai Nikitin (1907-1973). The form of the statue may have been inspired by the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a 2nd century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory) that is on display at the Louvre in Paris. The statue is constructed from reinforced concrete, with a system of supporting cables in the interior. When it was dedicated in 1967, it was the tallest free-standing statue in the world. The height of the main body of the statue is 52 m (170 feet), with the tip of the titanium sword reaching a height of 85 m (279 feet).
This Video from Russia Today’s website gives an interesting account of the construction and maintenance of the statue. Reports over the past few years have suggested that soil subsistence has caused the statue, which has no foundation and is anchored solely by its own weight, to develop a potentially dangerous tilt, leading to concerns that it could collapse. A virtual reality tour of the whole Mamayev Kurgan complex can be viewed here. In future posts, I will look at the rest of the memorial complex on the Mamayev Kurgan hill.