Personifications of Russia

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Since medieval times personifications of Russia are traditionally feminine, and most commonly are maternal.[1]

Most common terms for national personification of Russia are:

  • Mother Russia (Russian: Матушка Россия, tr. Matushka Rossiya, "Mother Russia"; also, Россия-матушка, tr. Rossiya-matushka, "Russian Mother", Мать-Россия, tr. Mat'-Rossiya, Матушка Русь, tr. Matushka Rus' , "Mother Rus' "),
  • Mother Motherland (Russian: Родина-мать, tr. Rodina-mat' ).

Notice that in Russian language, the concept of motherland is rendered by two terms: "родина" (tr. rodina), literally, "place of birth" and "отчизна" (tr. otchizna), literally "fatherland".

Harald Haarmann and Orlando Figes see the goddess Mokosh a source of the "Mother Russia" concept.[2][3]


A cover of Sentry (ru) magazine, approx. 1932, depicting Russia as a woman in a traditional costume liberated by a warrior in medieval armor, trampling the Bolshevik flag.

During The October Revolution and The Civil War, the image was in the propaganda of the supporters of the White movement, interpreting the struggle against the Bolsheviks as a battle with "aliens" as "oppressors of Mother Russia".[citation needed]


During the Soviet era, many statues of Mother Motherland were built, most to commemorate the Great Patriotic War. These include: Rodina-mat' zovot

See also


  1. ^ Рябов О. В. (1999). Русская философия женственности (XI—XX века). Иваново. pp. 35–46. 
  2. ^ Harald Haarmann, The soul of Mother Russia: Russian Symbols and Pre-Russian Cultural Identity, ReVision, June 22, 2000 (retrieved May 2, 2016)
  3. ^ Figes, Orlando (2002). Natasha's Dance: a cultural history of Russia. New York: Metropolitan Books. p. 321. ISBN 9780805057836. [...] the goddess known as Mokosh, from whom the myth of 'Mother Russia' was conceived. 
  4. ^ Казань. Храм на шести сотках — Ольга Юхновская."Не йог, не маг и не святой" — Российская Газета — Этот объект не включен в программу подготовки к казанскому миллениуму. Но его, без сомнений, будут показывать гостям города как редкую достопримечательность. Создатель множества памятников, художник из пригорода Казани Ильдар Ханов к тысячелетию столицы Татарстана строит на своем участке храм всех религий. В свое время творчество Ханова высоко оценил Святослав Рерих
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-24. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 

Further reading

  • Ellen Rutten, Unattainable Bride Russia: Gendering Nation, State, and Intelligentsia in Russian Intellectual Culture, 2010, ISBN 0810126567. The book discusses personifications of Russia as a bride in 20th century Russian literature and art.

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