Mother Armenia has a history that includes
replacing a tyrant..
On a hill overlooking Yerevan, "Mother Armenia"
statue stands to symbolize peace through strength.
Under her cautious gaze thousands passed today
to commemorate Armenia's war dead.
During World War II some 600,000 Armenians fought
with the allied forces. Half never came home.
During what is here called the Great Patriotic
War, 106 Armenian fighters earned the Union's
highest rank, Soviet Hero. Three Armenians became
Marshals and one, an Admiral.
Each May 9 the nation turns its attention to
its heroes and honors them in "Victory Park".
In the huge territory of the monument (3,000
square meters) inside the 50-meter pedestal there
is Mother Armenia Museum of the Ministry of Defense.
The relics exhibited here tell about heroism of
Armenians in WWII and Artsakhi Liberation War
"As the Armenian people already had their
own war and victory, it was decided to devote
one entire floor to Artsakhi Liberaion War,"
says deputy head of the Museum, Captain Askanaz
Abrahamyan. "Our works were aimed at searching
that kind of materials and today more than 5,000
valuable things are exhibited in the Museum."
There are personal belongings, weapons and documents
of the heroes and walls are decorated with their
portraits. There is a historical map, on which
forces worked for the liberation of Shushi. The
map and even Shushi's liberation had their name
- Wedding in the Mountains. The map got this name
after a certain event. While working on the strategy
for Shushi's liberation Vazgen Sargsyan promised:
"Boys, if we capture Shushi, I will marry,
and perform my wedding in the church of Shushi."
Those drawn to go inside the museum find the
small artifacts that personalize war. It is, though,
the 23-meter "Mother" that draws them
there. And she, too, has a history of triumph.
Mother Armenia stands where the stern faced Stalin
once stood. More than half a century ago this
hill of the monument was a large building site.
Grigor Harutyunyan, the first secretary of the
Armenian Communist Party's Central Committee,
members of the government and the author of the
project, architect Rafael Israelyan were carefully
seeing to this very important construction for
the Soviet country of that time.
On November 29, 1950 the statue of the "people's
leader", Stalin, was unveiled and the name
"monument" applied to the whole territory.
Regardless of the person it honored, the statue
was a masterpiece sculpted by Sergey Merkurov.
Realizing that occupying a pedestal can be a
short-term honor, Israelyan designed the pedestal
to resemble an Armenian church - at least on the
inside. In contrast to the cold, gloomy, right-angled
shapes of the outside, inside is light and pleasing
to the eye and resembles Echmiadzin's seventh-century
Hripsime Church. In the years of soviet dictatorship
and atheism, when churches were being destroyed
everywhere, it was courageous to make a pedestal
for Stalin's statue in the shape of a church.
The great architect's forecast came true years
later. Stalin's statue was taken away.
"I remember it was night, they turned the
lights in the city off and threw the murderer's
statue down with a terrible crash," says
Gennady Arakelyan, who was exiled to Siberia under
Two soldiers died while taking down the statue,
prompting a commonly heard expression: "Even
turned to stone, Stalin takes people with him".
The Mother Armenia Monument by Ara Harutyunyan
replaced the dictator's statue in 1967.