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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MOSCOW MAILBAG: Nikitin Case in Limbo, Like Lenin's Dead Body




The Presidium of the Supreme Court has postponed a hearing reopening the espionage and treason case against Alexander Nikitin, setting Sept. 13 as the new date. One reader wanted more background on Nikitin's long-running case.


Navy Captain Nikitin was arrested four years ago and accused of exposing government secrets. What he did was tell the Norwegian Bellona ecological organization that our northern seas were being polluted by radioactive waste dumped by our navy. Nikitin's human rights were violated all these years, until three months ago, when he was acquitted after two court hearings. He then traveled to the United States and returned to Russia, only to learn that the prosecutor's office is again attempting to prosecute him, after two court hearings declared him innocent.


One gets the impression that court decisions and human rights are being violated by some unseen hand. Recently, financial tycoon and media mogul Vladimir Gusinsky was arrested and accused of several crimes. Three days later, he was released but forbidden to leave the country. Then his property was arrested. At the end of July, he was called to the prosecutor's office and told he was free and the arrest on his property was null and void. Can you explain both these cases? They seem to be hangovers of Soviet mentality and methods.


In a question about another type of Soviet method f this one for preserving the long dead f Harry Lackey, an employee of a funeral home in China, Texas, asked for details on the embalming of the body of Vladimir Lenin.


The body of Lenin was embalmed shortly after his death in 1924, in a laboratory set up for that purpose. The process was painstaking, and it took four months to complete the work. The methods of Lenin's embalming were declared secret. The brain and heart are preserved in the Lenin Institute. (The brain underwent extensive study in its day, being frozen and sliced up for detailed analysis.) The organization in charge of the embalming procedure is still the Laboratory of the Lenin Mausoleum. In the years since Lenin's death, a man once detonated a bomb at the mausoleum, killing himself and several visitors, but the bullet-proof glass sarcophagus remained intact.


In their time, Lenin's brother and wife said it looked like the leader of the revolution had just gone to sleep. Many people today think that Lenin should be given a civilized burial and that the main square of the capital should not be turned into a cemetery. There are no end of graves at the foot of the Kremlin wall and urns in the wall itself. Can you imagine turning New York's Times Square or London's Trafalgar Square into a cemetery?


Joe Adamov hosts "Moscow Mailbag" on the Voice of Russia.