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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Senior Orthodox Priest Calls Lenin Worse Than Hitler

MTCommunist Party supporters marching toward Lenin's mausoleum on Red Square.

Asenior Russian Orthodox priest has called Vladimir Lenin an "even bigger villain" than Adolf Hitler and backed an effort tocheck his works forextremism.

Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov, head ofchurch relations with the armed forces andlaw enforcement, said in an interview that a closer study ofLenin's writings could drastically alter societal beliefs regarding theBolshevik leader, who he described as an"unscrupulous andutter cynic andvillain," Interfax reported.

Soviet authorities ruthlessly suppressed religion, confiscated church properties, anddemolished holy sites over their decades inpower, leading many church officials toview them with bitter resentment.

Smirnov made his comments Friday inresponse toa question from Interview on whether he agreed with aneffort byRussian Academy ofSciences researcher Vladimir Lavrov tohave theInvestigative Committee check Lenin's works forextremism.

Smirnov said he backed such aneffort but that he doubted theworks— which were afixture onthe bookshelves ofmany Soviet citizens andan obligatory subject ofstudy inSoviet schools— would be banned.

He noted that Leninism, acommunist ideology that promotes socialism anda "dictatorship ofthe proletariat," was also akind ofreligion andthat acheck ofLenin's works would not affect how his staunch devotees viewed him.

Speaking about his belief that Russian cities needed tobe rid ofthe ubiquitous images andplace-names that include Lenin, Smirnov referred toefforts inpost-World War II Germany toeliminate Hitler's name frompublic spaces.

Forhim, Smirnov said, Lenin was "an even bigger villain than Hitler" because "Hitler treated his people much better."

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