Goodbye Lenin? United Russia Considers Burial

Jan 24, 2011 — 00:00

Goodbye Lenin? United Russia Considers Burial

Jan 24, 2011 — 00:00
The body of Vladimir Lenin lying inside Lenin's Mausoleum on Red Square in this October 19, 1993 file photo. Lenin may be turned out of his tomb if a campaign launched by members of Russia's ruling pa Peter Andrews

Lenin may be turned out of his tomb if a campaign launched by United Russia members succeeds in closing down his mausoleum on Red Square.

"His presence as a central figure in a necropolis at the heart of our nation is utter nonsense," State Duma Deputy Vladimir Medinsky wrote on United Russia's web site.

The party ran a click-to-vote poll at GoodbyeLenin.ru — a nod to the hit German comedy about the collapse of communism. It said more than 100,000 people, or two in three of those taking part, backed the proposal to remove the embalmed body of the Bolshevik revolutionary and give him a normal burial.

It was not clear whether the idea, regularly aired in the 20 years since the Soviet breakup, has the support of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who heads United Russia and last year counseled against a rush to move Lenin.

More opinion polls in recent years have also found that a majority of Russians favor removing the remains of the man who, after his death on Jan. 21, 1924, was virtually deified by his heirs in a Communist Party that suppressed religion.

Medinsky noted that Lenin himself had had no such wish.

In Soviet times, lines snaked around Red Square as the faithful waited to file past the mummified body under the walls of the Kremlin. Few make the effort today. And maintaining the corpse is a constant and growing headache for the embalmers.

Communist supporters gathered at the mausoleum on Friday to commemorate the 87th anniversary of Lenin's death.