29 September 2012

Lenin, Moscow

Preserved Bodies Around the World, Excerpt
Red Square is home to the world's most famous mummy, that of Vladimir Lenin. When he died of a massive stroke (on 22 January 1924, aged 53), a long line of mourners patiently gathered in winter's harshness for weeks to glimpse the body as it lay in state. Inspired by the spectacle, Stalin proposed that the father of Soviet communism should continue to serve the cause as a holy relic. So the decision was made to preserve Lenin's corpse for perpetuity, against the vehement protests of his widow, as well as his own expressed desire to be buried next to his mother in St Petersburg.

Boris Zbarsky, a biochemist, and Vladimir Vorobyov, an anatomist, were issued a political order to put a stop to the natural decomposition of the body. The pair worked frantically in a secret laboratory in search of a long-term chemical solution. In the meantime, the body's dark spots were bleached, and the lips and eyes sewn tight. The brain was removed and taken to another secret laboratory, to be sliced and diced by scientists for the next 40 years in the hope of uncovering its hidden genius.

Bury Lenin, say Russians in online poll
24 Jan 2011
An online poll organized by Russia's ruling party suggests there is strong support for burying Lenin's body. Of more than 250,000 people who have voted in the poll, two-thirds so far say Lenin should now be buried. The revolutionary leader's embalmed body has been on display in a mausoleum in Red Square in Moscow since his death in 1924.

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