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Keeping up with The Motherland Calls

The Motherland Calls is a mightily impressive feat of concrete architecture.

As a race, humanity has been responsible for some incredible structures. From the immensity of the Tokyo Skytree and Spring Temple Buddha through to smaller-scale but no less astonishing achievements like the Terra Cotta Army, we really should give ourselves a pat on the back for what we can do – and how good we are at the deep cleaning and maintenance of our works!

One statue in particular that seems to catch the eye of anyone who comes across it is The Motherland Calls, which is unique in a number of ways.

What is The Motherland Calls?

When it was completed in 1967 in Volgograd, Russia, The Motherland Calls was the biggest statue in the world at the time. It has since been surpassed by a series of gigantic Buddhist monuments, but has many unique features that mean it is still an incredible feat of construction to this very day.

The pressed concrete and wire structure stands as a monument to the Battle of Stalingrad, with 200 steps leading to the statue that each represent a day in the conflict. The statue looms at the top of these, depicting a woman holding a gigantic sword in her right hand, which Time Magazine has stated is 108 feet long.

Her left hand extends behind her in a call to arms, which doesn’t just give the statue a unique pose – it makes it a feat of balanced engineering. In fact, UNESCO refers to it as “one of the most recognizable and artistic war monuments”. UNESCO also notes that the statue is a patriotic symbol, of the motherland calling upon her sons to fight and defend the country – an awe-inspiring sight to say the least.

Challenges posed by the structure

One particularly notable element of The Motherland Calls is that it is not actually fixed to the ground – all 8.000 tons of this work sit atop the ground, with the sheer weight of the statue keeping it stuck in place. However, it has lead to some concerns in recent years. Some changes in the groundwater levels have meant that the plinth it stands upon has moved almost eight inches, and it could be in danger of toppling in the future.

However, the Art In Russia website has translated statements from the Scientific Research Institute of Energy Structures, which conducts maintenance of the statue, that indicate concerns are overstated. Even if this is not an immediate concern, it is important to keep the surface of The Motherland Calls clean, which could require the use of specialist cleaning products.

The HANAFINN Oxy-Klenza™ from Dry Treat is something that anyone with outdoor concrete would want to consider – even if it is an 8,000 ton statue in the middle of Volgograd! This oxygen-based cleaner is excellent for removing stains and it’s well-suited to outdoor situations.

Protecting the motherland from the climate

A statue in such an open space is likely to face harm from the elements, no matter how dense the construction is. The climate of Volgograd is susceptible to high levels of precipitation, so concrete areas, as well as the granite steps leading to The Motherland Calls, would need a strong sealer for protection.

Products like HANAFINN Ole-Repella™ are ideal for this sort of surface. Granite is typically harder than many other natural stone surfaces, but this product’s deep-penetrating sealing molecules can go much deeper than other products, providing stronger and longer-lasting protection against concrete staining and other damaging issues.

Of course, not all of us are going to have such an immense statue in our backyard that requires ongoing maintenance. But statues like The Motherland Calls are a great example of large-scale concrete architecture that can benefit from the use of the right penetrating sealer and cleaner.

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