Russians want Lenin's embalmed body buried

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The Independent Online

Die-hard communists celebrated the 134th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin yesterday as an opinion poll showed that most Russians want his painstakingly embalmed corpse taken out of its Red Square mausoleum and reburied.

Several hundred mostly elderly Communist stalwarts, including Lenin's niece Olga Ulyanova, laid wreaths and flowers at the entrance to the red granite tomb in Moscow which houses the corpse of the Socialist icon who died in 1924. Although a visit to see his fully dressed corpse in its coffin is still a big tourist attraction, there is growing popular support to close the mausoleum.

An opinion poll showed that 56 per cent of Russians felt it was time for his body to be reburied alongside that of his mother in St Petersburg. Ten years ago, 45 per cent of Russians supported such an idea. Russia's ailing Communist Party is fiercely opposed to moving the founder of the USSR from Red Square.

"Lenin has already been given a Christian burial," Ms Ulyanova said. "The sarcophagus containing Lenin's body is located three metres under the ground," she added, saying that calls for his reburial were "attacks by Ilyich's enemies".

Alexander Kuvaev, the first secretary of the Moscow Communist Party, said the party would fight tooth and nail to preserve the status quo. "The Communist Party will not allow an outrage against Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Moscow Communists will always defend this genius of mankind."