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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Parliament Delays Debate on Lenin's Body

Russia's lower house of parliament Friday decided to put off a bitter discussion about removing Lenin's body from its mausoleum on Red Square.

The reform-oriented Union of Right Forces had drafted an appeal to President Vladimir Putin to decide the fate of Lenin's body. The party suggested that the mausoleum, considered a secular shrine in Communist times, could be used as the foundation for a museum of political repression.

The proposal followed the chamber's approval last week of Putin's suggestion that the melody of the Soviet national anthem be used for Russia's national hymn.

Reform politicians saw the effort to remove Lenin's body as a sign of resistance to the return of Soviet-era symbols.

The measure itself was largely symbolic, however, and had little chance of success.

The Russian Communist Party vehemently objected to the measure, which had been scheduled for discussion Friday.

A Communist Party statement called the proposal an attempt by "neo-liberal right forces to exterminate everything related to the Soviet period of history from the citizens' consciousness."

Other reform-oriented parties said it would be better to take up the fight later.

"In the long run, Lenin's body should be buried. But today it is not timely to discuss the topic,"read a statement released Friday by the Yabloko party. "Lenin's mausoleum remains a sacred place for many citizens of Russia."

The Union of Right Forces said its proposal had been misunderstood, and asked it to be removed from the Duma's scheduled business on Friday. The measure did not call for removing Lenin's body, but merely asked Putin to review the issue, said party member Boris Nadezhdin.

"Taking into account that there is some misunderstanding, we ask you to put the question off,"Nadezhdin said.

Lenin died in 1924 at age 53 after a series of strokes. He had expressed a desire to be buried in St. Petersburg, but the Communists insist on leaving his embalmed body on display in Red Square.