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‘From Where the Motherland Begins?’ are the first words of a song that every Soviet schoolchild knew. Today’s Wikipedia states that the Motherland is ‘the place of one’s birth.’
I was cleaning up an under-ceiling storage shelf in my parents’ home where I grew up, finding objects full of a special meanings for me in each of them: a box with East German Christmas tree decorations, an electric samovar (a traditional Russian boiling tank), silver spoons with engraved dedications presented by relatives.
In the age of mass production and chronic Soviet supply shortfalls these objects were rarely different from similar ‘relics’ in my age-mates families. But with all their physical resemblance, they are a trigger to unique recollections for everyone of us. Strangely intertwining, these recollections create a shared representation of Motherland.