Lenin's guards to honour soldier's tomb

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The Independent Online
President Boris Yeltsin decreed the reinstatement yesterday of Russia's Honour Guard No 1, which used to keep watch over Lenin's tomb on Red Square.

But the new troop, which takes up its post on Friday when Russia celebrates its post-communist 1993 constitution, will not honour the mausoleum of the Bolshevik leader but the nearby Second World War memorial, the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Mr Yeltsin, who originally floated the idea of reviving the guard in May, decreed that it would henceforth keep watch over the eternal flame and other war monuments in the Alexander Garden, below the Kremlin walls.

The original guard was created on 26 January 1924, to patrol the tomb where Vladimir Lenin was laid in state five days after his death.

Yeltsin disbanded the unit four years ago after defeating an armed rebellion by the communist-era parliament.

The embalmed body of the Bolshevik leader still lies preserved in its granite mausoleum, its eventual fate a bone of fierce contention between liberals and communists.

It is guarded by soldiers during public opening hours.