The "Worker and Collective Farm Woman" monument is one of the most recognizable symbols of the socialist era. The monument was originally intended to decorate the Soviet pavilion at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris. A competition was announced in the Soviet Union, in which the most famous architects of the country took part. In the opinion of the high commission, the best project was proposed by Boris Mikhailovich Iofan. He believed that the monument should be presented in the form of two figures - a worker and a collective farmer, who personified the true masters of the Soviet state - the working class and the collective farm peasantry. In their hands they held tools of labor - a sickle and a hammer.
Then a new competition took place, this time among sculptors. After some remarks, the work of Vera Ignatievna Mukhina was recognized as the best. She portrayed a worker and a collective farmer in the ancient Greek style - naked. But, the commission demanded to give them a more "moral" look. The final design was approved on November 11, 1936.
Two industrial enterprises, "Stalmost" and the plant of the Scientific Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering, took up the work. On the first of them, the frame of the future monument was made, and on the second - the cladding. Moreover, a number of significant changes have been made to the technology. For example, sheets of chrome-nickel steel were used for cladding, rather than copper, as previously planned. In addition, spot welding was used when joining the sheets, rather than rivets.
The total weight of the monument turned out to be impressive - about 75 tons. Naturally, it was not easy to deliver such a cargo to Paris. The monument was dismantled into 65 parts, which were loaded into 28 railway cars. But, it was impossible to foresee everything, new difficulties arose on the way: in Poland, some fragments of parts could not pass into the tunnel, they had to be cut off by welding.
In Paris, the monument was greeted with enthusiasm, however, there were rumors that sabotage was being prepared against it, therefore, the workers whose task was to collect the "Worker and the Collective Farm Woman" were alternately on duty around it. When the exhibition closed, the French government was ready to buy the monument, even stating that the necessary money would be collected as soon as possible. But, the leadership of the USSR refused and the monument went back to Moscow.
This time, the parts were transported on open platforms, it is not surprising that many of them were seriously damaged on the way. The monument had to be seriously restored. The question of where it will be installed in Moscow would not have been immediately resolved either. The options were very different - Manezhnaya Square, Lenin Hills, Krymsky Val Street. There was even an idea to send "Worker and Collective Farm Woman" to the Volga and install it at the Rybinsk Hydroelectric Power Station sluice. But the final decision was this - the monument will be located at the main entrance to the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition.
There was not much time left before the opening of the exhibition, therefore, the monument was erected on a low pedestal, which greatly upset Vera Mukhina. By the end of the twentieth century, the monument was in critical condition, and extensive restoration work was required. In 2003, it was decided to dismantle the "Worker and Collective Farm Woman" for repair. It was assumed that the entire restoration will take about two years, but the monument returned to its usual place much later than planned, only in 2009.
Even the person who has never seen the Worker and Kolkhoz Woman monument in Moscow itself is well acquainted with it from the screensaver of the films shot at the Mosfilm studio. He first appeared in the film "Spring", which was directed by Grigory Alexandrov in 1947. Soon the monument became a kind of a symbol of Mosfilm, which later caused a lot of controversy about copyright infringement. But, the claims were rejected by the court, as there were documents that permission to use this image of "Mosfilm" had been received from Vera Mukhina herself.
It will be interesting, of course, to find out - from whom were the images of a worker and a collective farmer sculpted? Igor Basenko posed for the figure of the worker; in the past he studied ballet, but was seriously injured and decided to become a professional sitter. But the "collective farmer" was Zoya Mukhina, an employee of Metrostroy. Moreover, she was not a relative of the sculptor. Vera Mukhina noticed her namesake during a sports parade and decided that she would be an excellent model.
You can see the "Worker and Collective Farm Woman" monument not only in the capital. The same statues, albeit in a much smaller size, can be seen in some other cities of Russia. For example, in Bikin of the Khabarovsk Territory or in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, which is located in the Sverdlovsk Region. In addition, this monument is often found on postage stamps. Moreover, published both in our country and abroad.