The Tomb of Lenin in Red Square

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Lenin died in Jan 21, 1924, that is exactly 87 years ago, but he lives on in an eerie way.  His body is preserved in a granite and marble mausoleum in Red Square.  The body has been preserved at this place since 1924, except for a short period during the Second World War when it was removed and kept in a ware house, fearing a German attack. The body was brought back in 1945.

Last year a million visitor’s paid homage to Lenin, whose body is kept embalmed in the Mausoleum. Every 18 months it is taken out for a make over.  This is done in a professional manner. Firstly, his body is immersed in a mixture of glycerol and potassium acetate for 30 days. This gives moisture to the body. Secondly, his body is sealed in a glass sarcophagus, which is maintained at 61 degrees. The humidity is kept between 80-90 %. This is also the period when a new suit is stitched and donned on him.  The body of Lenin is looked after by Dr Denisov Nikolsky aged 71. He has been caring for the body since 1970.

  Specially filtered light falls on the body, which gives the face a warm glow. Denisov-Nikolsky has informed that modern cosmetics are not used and only mild bleach is used to treat the occasional fungus stains that sometimes appear on Lenin’s face.

For some time Lenin had company along with the embalmed body of Stalin. But Stalin’s body was removed in 1961 and buried along with minor heroes about 300 meters from the mausoleum.

 Looking at the man in the glass cabin one cannot understand how this man lived his life. He has some notable firsts. He was the first man to build concentration camps in Europe and imprison his opponents by the thousands.  When Lenin died in 1924, there were 70,000 Russians in concentration camps. In a short period of 7 years rule Lenin created a morbid model for his successors to follow.  Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao just carried on from where Lenin left.

 Lenin had a close companion. He was Leon Trotsky. Between the two of them the duo orchestrated the execution of 4 million people and that included men and women.  Anybody whom the Bolsheviks thought was their opponent was executed. There were mass executions and now it is difficult to visualize why they took place.  Lenin also authorized the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1920. 

 The visitors go past the body, in single file.   Perhaps not many realize that the body in the glass cabin is the body of a man who caused at least 4 million deaths.   After 1991 the Russian government has stopped funding the upkeep of the mausoleum, which is now maintained by donations from private individuals. The younger generation in Russia wants the body to be removed, though older people still revere Lenin.

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