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14 Jul. 2023

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Trident instead of the USSR coat of arms: what does the Motherland Monument symbolize and why have Ukrainians been waiting for the reconstruction?

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Trident instead of the USSR coat of arms: what does the Motherland Monument symbolize and why have Ukrainians been waiting for the reconstruction?

The Motherland Monument is not just a cultural landmark in Ukraine. The pose, facial expression, weapons in the hands, and even the direction the sculpture is facing have symbolic meaning. Find out more about the monument's history, sacred role, and the importance of the reconstruction

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The Ukrainian authorities have officially approved a plan to reconstruct the Motherland monument, which provides for the decommunization of the sculpture. Thus, the shield that rises above Kyiv will have a trident instead of the Soviet coat of arms, the same as the small state emblem of Ukraine. 



Photo: Ukraine Government 


Reconstruction plan for the Motherland monument


The coat of arms for the shield will be made by Metinvest from steel produced by Zaporizhzhia-based Zaporizhstal. It was this enterprise that produced the material for the entire monument in 1981. Installation work will begin in July and is expected to be completed by August 24, Ukraine's Independence Day.

So, why is the reconstruction of the monument not just another step in the decommunization of Ukraine, and what is the sacred meaning of the Motherland for the country and Ukrainians?


History of the Motherland Monument


The first project of the monument was developed in the 1970s by sculptor Yevhen Vuchetych. However, he was unable to realize his plans, and after his death, the Motherland was given a new lease of life by Ukrainian architect Vasyl Borodai. He completely redesigned the original layout and gave it the look we are used to seeing today. 

However, there were disputes about the sculpture's appearance almost from the very first days of the project's development. The heated discussions concerned not only what the female figure would be holding, but also her hairstyle, jewelry, and clothing. Some authorities in moscow insisted that the Motherland should be "dressed" in a russian folk sundress. But in the end, only the coat of arms on the shield of a female warrior remained as a hint of the Soviet Union.

Thus, on May 9, 1981, the legendary monument was officially unveiled. According to official documents, the height of the sculpture is 62 meters, and the total height of the Motherland with the pedestal is 102 meters, which makes it 9 meters higher than the US national monument, the Statue of Liberty. In addition, the Motherland is the tallest sculpture in all of Europe and the world's first monument made of steel, which was made by continuous welding.




So, what is the sacred meaning of this sculpture for Ukrainians and why did the Kyiv monument get a "new life" after the full-scale invasion of russia?




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What does the Motherland monument symbolize?


First of all, the Motherland was created as a symbol of the invincibility of the people who defeated the Nazi invaders during World War II. The construction of the monument is able to withstand any weather, including earthquakes and hurricanes, just as Ukrainians are able to withstand the most difficult challenges and remain unbreakable.

In addition, it is believed that the Motherland is the protector of Ukraine. The sculpture has a confident triumphant pose, her hands holding a sword and a shield, and her face has a calm but stern look: "Whoever comes with a sword will die by the sword," she seems to be saying.




It should be noted that the Motherland has been the subject of discussion and controversy on many occasions. In particular, it has been compared to a monument located in Volgograd. There, a sculpture called "Motherland" was also erected there, designed by Yevhen Vuchetich. However, despite the same name, the monuments have completely different purposes. The difference lies in the fact that the russian "defender" looks like an attacker and seems to show with her appearance the favorite russian fable "we can repeat it", while the Ukrainian Motherland does not swing her sword, but only proudly and confidently holds it above her head, showing that she not only protects Ukraine with a shield, but is also ready to repel anyone who comes uninvited.




Moreover, at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the Motherland acquired a new sacred meaning for the Ukrainian people. It is symbolic that the russian sculpture looks at the West with a furious expression, as if on the attack. While the Ukrainian monument is turned toward russia and is ready to defend itself. It was rumored that the architect knew something when he redesigned Vuchetich's model and built the sculpture. 




Today, the shield and sword held by the Motherland have become a direct association with the brave soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who daily show great heroism, strength and devotion, defending the Ukrainian land from the russian horde.


Therefore, the long-awaited reconstruction of the monument is a truly necessary and important step, both within the framework of Ukraine's decommunization and for every Ukrainian personally. After all, the Motherland is the embodiment of courage, resilience and indestructibility of the Ukrainian people, who are able not only to withstand, but also to win!


We remind you! In recent weeks, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have liberated more territory than russia seized in 2023. We told you what is happening on the front line, where the Ukrainian army has made the most progress, and what victories we can already talk about at the front in our previous article.




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