Vladimir Lenin

REUTERS – by Guy Faulconbridge

The embalmed body of revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin should be moved from Red Square and buried as his family had wished, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev said on Wednesday.

Lenin led the 1917 Bolshevik revolution to found the first Communist state, which lasted 74 years until Gorbachev presided over the break-up of the Soviet Union.

He died on January 21, 1924 and despite the pleas of relatives, his body was embalmed and placed in a mausoleum on Red Square in the shadow of the Kremlin walls. Lenin’s body is still on public display.

Opponents say the ghosts of the Soviet Union should be put to rest and that Lenin, an atheist known by his patronymic, Ilych, be given a proper burial.

“My view is as follows — we should not be occupied right now with grave digging. But we will necessarily come to a time when the mausoleum will have lost its meaning and we will bury Ilych, give him up to the earth as his family had wanted,” Gorbachev told reporters. “I think the time will come … it will happen.”

The fate of Lenin is an emotional question in modern Russia, where the Communists are the second biggest political party.

The Russian Orthodox Church has called for Lenin to be buried, but the Communist Party says the father of the Soviet Union should stay put.

Russia’s first post-Soviet leader Boris Yeltsin more than once spoke in favor of removing the mausoleum from Red square. But strong pro-Communist sentiment in the country prevented him from doing so. In the end, Yeltsin avoided taking a decision.

Vladimir Putin also fudged the issue, saying the question was emotive and hard to tackle, and his successor, President Dmitry Medvedev, has not yet made his position clear.

In Soviet times, revering the memory of Lenin was a Communist obligation. Communists still mark his April birthday.

After his death, Lenin’s brain was removed and studied by Soviet scientists, who tried to prove his revolutionary genius under a microscope.

Lenin’s opponents, who say he unleashed decades of turmoil and launched Russia on the path to destruction, say he is an inappropriate hero for post-communist Russia and that there is no place for the public display of corpses in modern society.

Gorbachev also called for the creation of a Russian memorial museum to remember the millions of people killed or sent to prison under Josef Stalin, whose embalmed body lay beside Lenin’s for eight years until 1961.

Russian historians estimate that 11-27 million people in the Soviet Union suffered from Stalin’s repression. But he is revered by many in Russia for beating Nazi Germany in World War II and building the USSR into a superpower.

Gorbachev criticized some attempts to glorify Stalin on state television and said a national memorial was needed to help Russian democracy develop.

“This is a very big question for our country, it affected millions and touched on almost every family, almost the whole country,” he said. “We need to overcome the lack of historical memory, we need to strengthen democracy and freedom.”

edited by Janet Lawrence

– ( interlude) Rasputin by Boney M –

5 Responses

  1. ‘Lenin’s opponents, who say he unleashed decades of turmoil and launched Russia on the path to destruction, say he is an inappropriate hero for post-communist Russia and that there is no place for the public display of corpses in modern society.’

    OH really?!!!!
    …………..How many people died when Tsar was in charge?………
    …Romanovs are still considered almost devine by some people…

    • Nobody says there was no cruel execution during the Tsar’s times. But the point is that during the Lenin’s governing you could be killed (without any delay) only because you were wearing glasses!!! Because this attribute madу you a part of the intelligentsia! There was a horrible time because cruel and primitive people had a power…even to kill you if needed. And I know it definitely as I am from post Soviet country and heard a lot from my grandmother.

  2. Lenin has created in Russia a social equality. It has begun democracy.
    Recollect revolution. Recollect why peasants have followed Lenin…

    • Only 7% of peasants followed Lenin. 93% were in fear (this proportion is pretty usual for society). Did you know that during the Bolshevik’s meeting they just killed all the representatives of other political parties? That is the fact! And Lenin after that could NOT STOP LAUGHING for 5 HOURS! I am sure you cannot even imagine what has happen in this country. And good for you!

      • ‘Did you know that during the Bolshevik’s meeting they just killed all the representatives of other political parties?’

        So hadn’t they done what was a ‘standard procedure’? No need to live in the country you are referring to, as similar actions I see every day where opponents are crushed (not killed, I live in the EU). Anyway, strategically and sociologically idea is alive and wasn’t invented by Lenin. I think I’ll be laughing whole weekend.

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