The Motherland Monument stands tall over the city as a symbol of victory during WW2. The statue, however, remains controversial in Ukraine, where some want it removed due to its glorification of the Soviet Union. 

Kyiv is home to several sights worth visiting, but nothing is more eyecatching than the Motherland Monument, standing 102 meters tall over the city near the river Dnipro. It weighs an enormous 560 tonnes, and she holds a 16-meter sword and a big shield, symbolizing the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in WW2. 

The female warrior statue stands on a plateau with a war museum inside with a section about WW2 and another about the current war in Donbas with Russian-backed separatists, which started in 2014 and has claimed more than 14,000 lives. 

Photo: Unsplash

The Motherland Monument is definitely worth a visit. It gives you a peek into the history of the Soviet Union and Ukraine today. In the memorial hall of the Museum at the foot of the statue, the names of more than 11,600 soldiers who died during the war are carved into the marble, giving you an idea of the human costs of war. 

You can find more statues about the war around the Motherland Monument. Photo: Stefan Weichert
The names of more than 11,600 soldiers who died during the war are carved into the marble inside. Photo: Stefan Weichert
The square outside. Photo: Stefan Weichert

The war museum itself has many interesting artifacts, such as a broken Nazi eagle statue and hundreds of letters sent from the government of the Soviet Union to the families of the fallen Soviet soldiers during WW2. Also, around the statue, you can find more Soviet statues remembering the war, and Ukraine has opened an outdoor museum with tanks and other military equipment from the Cold War. 

The outdoor museum. Photo: Stefan Weichert
The outdoor museum. Photo: Stefan Weichert

The controversial monument

While the Motherland Monument might simply be a tourist attraction for some, it is much more for Ukrainians. Some cherish it as a much-needed monument for the WW2 efforts, while others want it removed due to its glorification of the Soviet Union. The Motherland Monument was completed in the 1980s but was already on the way decades earlier. At first, the Soviet leaders wanted to make a large monument of one of the former Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin or Joseph Stalin, but those plans were changed. 

The Motherland Statue has the Soviet symbol with the hammer and sickle on the sword, and some Ukrainians want the statue or at least the symbol removed. Some argue that the metal could be used for other things instead.

The Ukrainian government banned Soviet and Communist symbols in 2015, but it hasn’t affected the Motherland Monument until now, and it is not certain that it will. 

Others argue that the monument is a part of Ukrainian history and would be wrong to remove it. Furthermore, the statue is visited by thousands of tourists every year. They can get a great view of the city from this area and better understand the struggle during the Soviet Union and get to see the museum about the war in Donbas. 

You can find the Motherland Monument at Lavrska St. 27 in the center of Kyiv.