Monday, 24 January 2011

Vladimir Putin to Bury Vladimir Lenin

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If Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party has its way, the results of an online poll may have Soviet-state founder and Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Lenin evicted from his current Red Square mausoleum to spend the rest of his corporeal existence buried six feet under a cozy gravesite in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad). 
The poll, which can be found at goodbyelenin.ru, asks only one question: “Do you support the idea of burying the body of V. Lenin?” — requiring a simple "Yes" or "No" answer. As of Monday, January 24, nearly 70% have voted in favor of burial.
 
If the United Russia party, whose logo appears on the upper left-hand corner of the poll website, follows through on the poll results, Lenin’s lease may soon expire. 
 
Although nostalgic euphoria for Josef Stalin remains high among Russia’s youth, Lenin does not favor so well. To the average Russian, Lenin invokes memories of religious suppression of Eastern Orthodox Christians at the hands of his Cheka (forerunner to the KGB). 
 
The proposal to remove Lenin’s body was brought up by yet another Vladimir — State Duma deputy Vladimir Medina, who stated on the United Russia website: 
 
I think every year we must raise the same question of the removal of the remains of Lenin's body from the mausoleum. It's [a] kind of ridiculous, pagan-necrophilia mission we have in Red Square. No, Lenin's body is not there, experts know that [of what has been] preserved [only to] the order of 10% of the body [remains], everything else ... there has long been gutted and replaced.
 
Medina went on to base his argument on the original wishes of Lenin before he died, observing:
 
They wanted to bury him in St. Petersburg with his mother. But the Communists did not care about the desires and most of the leader[s], and his relatives. They had to create a cult, substituting religion, and make something out of Lenin, a replacement of Christ. Something did not happen. With this, perversion must end.
 
Despite what Lenin or his family may have wanted at the time, his current living next-of-kin, niece Olga Ulyanov, daughter of his brother, Dmitry I. Ulyanov, has expressed her disapproval for the proposed removal of her uncle’s body.
 
Olga, who refers to her uncle Vladimir as “an outstanding figure of the planetary scale,” declared, “I have repeatedly stated and I repeat again that I oppose the reburial of Lenin.”
 
Making the argument that Russia’s cultural history should be preserved, she remarked sarcastically: “Not only impinge on the Mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin, but also insist on the reburial of all heroes, resting near the Kremlin wall.”
 
Lenin’s niece is not alone in her opinion; the loudest voice of opposition to the removal of Lenin’s corpse is the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), which retains nearly a quarter of the seats in the Duma, Russia’s national parliament. 
 
“This is about distracting people's attention from social problems and genuine issues concerning the Russian Federation,” Valery Rashkin, Duma member and secretary of the CPRF, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.
 
Rashkin may in fact be correct when he claims that the proposed reburial may be about “distracting people’s attention,” but not from Russia’s social domestic problems. 
 
According to Britain’s daily Telegraph, "Analysts believe that the ruling United Russia party may be considering closing the Red Square mausoleum in order to show the world it is serious about modernising the country.”
 
The closing of the Red Square mausoleum and reburial of Lenin can be perceived as a ploy to reinforce the subterfuge that the Soviet Union fell and that the Kremlin is no longer guided by communism.
 
Photo: Vladimir Putin in front of Lenin's Mausoleum
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