According to a January poll from the respected Levada Centre, only a quarter of Russians think the body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin should remain in the dark and damp mausoleum on Red Square. That same study found that 34% of the country believes Lenin should be reburied in St Petersburg’s Volkovsky cemetery and 19% wanted his body to be moved to the Kremlin wall Necropolis along with Joseph Stalin and other Soviet luminaries.
In a Euronews interview one Moscow man commented, “They made him a tourist attraction in my opinion, but you can find something else to entertain visitors. We have a lot of places in Moscow that you can show.” Those who feel he should remain in his current mausoleum generally are sympathetic to the Russian Communist party.
Although President Vladimir Putin has in the past floated the idea of moving Lenin to another location, he needs the older Communist party voters in his coalition against the opposition reformers so it is doubtful that he’ll propose a move anytime soon.
For now, the mausoleum is closed, covered by this large canopy while workmen do repairs. Not only have Lenin’s ideals begun to rot away, but so has the foundation of the mausoleum. Additionally, the roof leaks and engineers noticed that the walls were beginning to tilt. The presence of underground water should be no surprise; there is a river buried underneath.
The first mausoleum was constructed quickly, in a day, immediately following Lenin’s death. That structure lasted just a few months before it had be replaced. The second structure lasted five years but it too had to be replaced.
Stalin was buried in the mausoleum after his death and his name was carved in the granite. However during the period of de-Stalinization his body was moved to the Necropolis and his name removed from the mausoleum in 1961.
The current mausoleum is a granite structure and Lenin’s body has rested there since his death in 1924 except for a time during the war with Germany. By 1972 an estimated ten million visitors had toured the mausoleum but in more recent years interest in Lenin’s tomb has waned considerably.
As one can imagine, when the government first announced that repairs would be made over a four month period, rumours began almost immediately as the large white tarpaulin went over the mausoleum. A few Moscow residents think that the mausoleum is being demolished and Lenin’s body removed in secrecy.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see…