Rodina - in Russian, "the Motherland" - is about a Russian family and the tumultuous times through which they live. It tells the story of Evgenia, a Russian woman who endures the upheavals of her beleaguered homeland and personifies Rodina's strength. It is also about Evgenia's courageous daughters, the dedicated men they love, and the passions which propel all of their eventful lives.
The saga opens in 1861, the year of the Great Emancipation - and Evgenia's birth. Her life unfolds in Derevnia, a village on the Volga, among people whose life is hard but also filled with beauty and joy. Amid the contradictions of her peasant environment, Evgenia grows up within a warm community of strong individuals: Babushka, the wise woman who teaches her the lore of the forest; Ekaterina, the village midwife who trains her as a healer; Mikhail, the chanter whose booming voice inspires her to sing; Ivan, the dedicated village priest whom she marries.
When Evgenia's children grow up, they go off to Petersburg. Lisya, the eldest, plays violin in the orchestra of the glittering Maryinsky theatre. Tatiana, the youngest, dances in the elegant Imperial Ballet. Vladimir, their brother, leaves his Orthodox seminary to become a zealous Bolshevik. Against the dramatic and violent backdrop of the Russian Revolution, they experience war and terror, idealism and inspiration.
Evgenia herself eventually joins her children in Petersburg - now Leningrad - where her granddaughter, Katya, works at the great Hermitage Art Museum. When the Nazis invade, Katya's husband, Alexei, goes off to fight at Stalingrad. Katya and her children are caught in the 900-day siege of Leningrad, as are Evgenia and Lisya. Together, all four generations join the heroic battle to defend their Motherland.