Where does the Motherland begin?
Every Russian has his own answer to this question. Everyone has their own associations, because everyone was born in a certain region. First, Russia is the largest country in the world, and it has so many different regions with completely different climate, religion, and individual traditions that one person’s associations with the Motherland will be associated with the ocean and fish, another with snowy mountains, and a third with endless steppes. And they are all citizens of the same country.
For a resident of Saint Petersburg, Russia is primarily the Gulf of Finland. This was the response of most of my friends who were born and raised here. Recently, a friend of mine from Mexico asked the question “how do residents of the European part of Russia (Moscow, Saint Petersburg) differ from the Asian part of Russia (Vladivostok)?”. And I, to be honest, could not find an exact answer to this question. On the one hand, we celebrate the same holidays, eat the same traditional dishes for the New Year, and speak the same language. But I, for example, have never seen the ocean, I do not know what it is in winter-40 degrees, I have never breathed the smog that my friends from Siberia breathed, and I have not eaten crabs and real red caviar. But I have my own associations with my homeland.
A resident of Volgograd has only one Association: the Motherland on Mamayev Kurgan. A big part of my life, I have lived here in the city-hero, which used to be called Stalingrad and before that Tsaritsyn. And I will say one thing: everyone I ask is proud to be a resident of this city. When I lived in Germany and communicated with the Germans, they admired the fact that I was from Volgograd and asked a lot of questions. People from Saint Petersburg told me: I would like to come to your city to see this magnificent statue.
Patriotism in Volgograd is laid from early childhood. When I was at school, we always had veterans and heroes of the great Patriotic war (world war II) come to us, and I even had a teacher at school who survived the entire war. And the dates of July 17 (the beginning of the battle of Stalingrad), February 2 (the end of the battle of Stalingrad) and, of course, may 9 (victory day) are known to everyone. Especially the last 2. I remember when I was in Junior school, we met veterans at school, they told us about the war. We came on February 2 and in a smart uniform also prepared our performances. And on may 9, Victory Day is celebrated here as the main holiday of the city. On this day, a million tourists come to Volgograd from all over the world. Then we constantly went to Mamayev Kurgan with the school, to the main Museum of the city – “Panorama”, constantly went to the monuments of the heroes of the great Patriotic war and laid flowers, learned poems about the war by heart.
Thanks to the events of the battle of Stalingrad (July 17, 1942-February 2, 1943), in may 1959, under the direction of the sculptor E. V. Vuchetich, the construction of a monument-ensemble “to the Heroes of the battle of Stalingrad”began on Mamayev Kurgan. Construction of the monument “Motherland calls!” was started in may 1959 and completed on October 15, 1967. The sculpture at the time of its creation was the tallest statue in the world.
The main monument of the ensemble is one of the tallest statues in the world, the highest statue in Russia and Europe (without a pedestal — the tallest statue in the world at the time of construction and for the next 22 years). The sculpture is a multi-meter figure of a woman who stepped forward with a raised sword. The statue is an allegorical image of the Motherland calling its sons to battle with the enemy.
I have not lived in Volgograd for more than three years, but when I come here, I always come to Mamayev Kurgan, and I remember my childhood, how my father and I used to go here for every holiday, how I went to every may 9. It’s part of my life, part of my soul. I will always be proud of the fact that I was born in this city and when the word “homeland”in my head will always be the image of the sculpture “Motherland”.