Russia: Lenin's Mausoleum

Global Voices Online
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lenin's Tomb, Moscow, USSR, 1985 - by JoeBlogger

Three months before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the legendary "sound-manipulator" Sergei Kuryokhin proved quite convincingly (albeit facetiously) that Vladimir Lenin had been a mushroom and a radio wave.

Kuryokhin died on July 9, 1996, at the age of 42. His widow explained what had inspired him to expose "the leader of the world proletariat" the way he did (RUS, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Aug. 18, 2005):

[...] Sergei [Kuryokhin] once saw a program on [Sergei Yesenin]'s death. The author of the program was supporting his claim that the poet had been assassinated with some absolutely absurd things. They were showing photos from Yesenin's funeral and saying this: "Look where this man is looking, and this one is looking in the opposite direction, and this means that Yesenin was murdered..." Sergei watched the show and told me: "This way, you can prove just about anything." [...]

On Nov. 7, 2006, eighty-nine years since the 1917 Lenin/mushroom-led revolution, which resulted in the birth of the Soviet Union, LJ user valkorn posted links to the 32-minute video of Kuryokhin's famous prank (RUS, here and here), originally broadcast on May 17, 1991, on the Pyatoye Koleso ("The Fifth Wheel") TV show, in the city whose name would change from Leningrad to St. Petersburg on Sept. 6, 1991.

Like Leningrad, cities and streets have been renamed, some of the Soviet history got erased, but Lenin still lies in his Mausoleum in Moscow's Red Square, in relative obscurity most of the time. Recently, however, a little bit of a spotlight fell on him due to the renovations about to take place in his abode.

LJ user warsh writes (RUS):

Interesting fact #2088

[Radio] Ekho Moskvy reports that Lenin's Mausoleum is closing down for a month and a half for [restoration work]. Experts say that "scheduled biochemical work" would be carried out in order to preserve the leader's mummy. Thanks to the newest scientific achievements, Lenin's body, embalmed in 1924, can last many more years. The revolutionary leader only needs to have his suit changed. The state used to fund [preservation work] at the Mausoleum, but now the money comes from one of the scientific funds.

Reminds me of Knyshev: "on this day many years ago, the brain of the Secretary General of the CPSU's [Central Committee] refused to cooperate with the organs."

Since the state can no longer support Lenin, bloggers suggest ways to make the Mausoleum profitable:

stereobase: Lenin's Mausoleum is closing down for a month and a half and will be temporarily re-equipped to provide tire replacement services to drivers, due to the enormous workload that such services are currently suffering.

warsh: ...and due to the high death rates on the roads.

tchnr: They should make the Mausoleum self-reliant. [One way] is to borrow suits from popular boutiques and fashion designers, and charge them for advertisement. Change suits almost every day, using imagination. People will no doubt queue to see [Lenin] dressed like Elvis or in a [civil war military outfit]. There should be an entrance fee.

Or they should finally bury the corpse like human beings do.

warsh: Why don't you draw up a business plan. And toss it over the cogged [Kremlin] wall.

LJ user larinax is also wondering (RUS) what could be done with Lenin and his tomb:

Kuryokhin proved that Lenin was a mushroom and a radio wave (a masterpiece of a show with Sholokhov in 1991!).

Stas Namin's idea was to take Lenin's mummy around the world like that of Tutankhamun, before he is buried (real income for the Motherland! we'd earn billions).

Marat Guelman (if I'm not mistaken) served Lenin as an 80-kg cake (by Yuri Shabelnikov), which was devoured with pleasure with spoons by those who were invited for the act (in 2000, I guess, and Marat should correct me if I'm wrong).

It was Yeltsin who was supposed to bury him - at that time, no one would have made a sound. Though no one knew where [to bury him] - Volkovo cemetery didn't want him then and doesn't want him now. [...] "When a decade and a half ago they first began talking about burying [Lenin] at Literatorskie Mostki," writes Ogonyok, "the then head of the [cemetery] rebelled. 'Do you want him to keep getting exhumed all the time?" Mr. Mishchenko kept asking rhetorically. "Do you want us to begin every morning with searches for the body: where is it today?"

Bulgarians did away with their corpse (Dimitrov's Mausoleum) immediately and without referendums - leveled it, period. And Dimitrov's body was cremated and re-buried in his parents' grave.

After the "velvet revolution" in Czechoslovakia, the mausoleum was closed and the bodies (there was a bunch of them in there) were re-buried.

In Albania, they re-did the mausoleum into an international cultural center.

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