Preserved forever: Kim Jong-il will get the Lenin treatment
Dear Leader's body will be embalmed and put on display in tradition of communist rulers
North Korea announced yesterday that the body of its recently departed "dear leader", Kim Jong-il, would be embalmed and displayed forever.
Following a communist tradition that dates back to the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, whose embalmed body is still on display at a marble mausoleum on Red Square in Moscow, Kim's body will have its organs removed before being soaked in a chemical bath. The body is likely to be exhibited in the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang, where his father, Kim Il-sung, is on display.
The procedure is likely to be performed by an institute in Moscow that looks after Lenin's corpse. The institute worked on the body of the older Kim, as well as on the Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, Czechoslovakia's Klement Gottwald and Angola's Agostinho Neto.
Last month, one of the institute's specialists gave a rare interview to a Russian tabloid in which the embalming process was discussed: "It's not a pretty sight," said Pavel Fomenko, who was part of the team that embalmed Kim Il-sung. "First, all the internal organs are extracted, the veins are dissolved and the blood taken from the tissues," he said.
"The body is placed in a glass bath filled with the embalming solution, then closed and covered with a white sheet... Gradually, the water in the cells of the body is replaced by the solution." Mr Fomenko said the process takes around six months, and that the embalmed body then requires meticulous aftercare every week.
Mr Fomenko, now 78, said that Russia was prepared to help with the embalming of Kim Jong-il, and recalled that the North Koreans had paid around $1m for the embalming of Kim Jong-il's father. "I remember that when Kim Il-sung died, there were reports that he had been buried. But at the same time they were asking us to prepare our products and some days later we took off for Pyongyang." Kim senior is now on display inside a glass coffin on the top floor of the Kumsusan Palace. Visitors are required to bow three times when viewing the body, and must first pass through a full-body dust-remover, to prevent contamination.
When Kim Jong-il's body is laid to rest alongside his father's, it will be the first time that two embalmed leaders have been displayed together since Joseph Stalin's body was removed from the Lenin mausoleum in 1961, eight years after his death.
Kim died of a suspected heart attack on 17 December, aged 69, and his body was put on display before his carefully choreographed funeral on 28 December. It was also announced yesterday that memorial towers will be built for him in Pyongyang, and that his birthday, 16 February, will become a national holiday known as "Day of the Shining Star".
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
Isis 'bulldozes' Nimrud: UNESCO condemns destruction of ancient Assyrian site as a 'war crime'
Professor Brian Cox brands astrology-believing Tory MP David Tredinnick an 'outlier on the spectrum of reason'
Lynch mob kills suspected rapist in India after dragging him naked for four miles through city
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...