Remaining one of the places of interest in Moscow, Lenin mausoleum causes hot disputes over its propriety and significance. Some people consider the mausoleum a unique phenomenon of Soviet history, while others claim that the unburied Lenin`s body stigmatizes image of Russia.
Red Square in pre-revolutionary Moscow was a typical trade square with the usual willow market before the Easter. In the course of the October Revolution Bolsheviks buried 238 dead bodies right along one of the walls in Red Square, and at once this laid a revolutionary ritual cemetery status to the Easter square. The first public rallies, demonstrations took place here, at the mass grave, as public oaths of allegiance to the new political regime. After Moscow had turned into the capital, Red Square automatically got the status of the main cemetery of the Soviet Republic. A separate grave in Red Square was given to one of the party leaders Yakov Sverdlov in 1919. Later, in 1920, the American journalist John Rid was buried there. That’s why it went without saying that Lenin must be buried in Red Square when he died. By the day of Lenin`s funeral, 24 January 1924, there was built a temporary wooden mausoleum for the leader’s coffin. The marble and granite mausoleum with speaker tribunes we can see now appeared in 1930 and became an innovative complex consisting of a dead body, tribunes and parade marches.
First days after Lenin`s death no one intended to embalm his body – authorities relied on severe frosts. However, numerous delegations from all around the country and telegrams from workers asking to show the body of Lenin to the whole world gave an impetus to perpetuate the body and not commit it to earth.
The widow and sisters of Lenin were strongly against making a “doll” of Lenin, but they remained unheard, as a propaganda effect was more powerful than common sense. Nevertheless, Soviet medics managed to operationally cope with the unique task of embalmment and a red Soviet pharaoh appeared in Moscow.
70 years later
After the USSR collapse Lenin cult’s time was over and there the talks about the mausoleum’s propriety started. There appeared the idea to demolish the mausoleum, commit Lenin`s body to earth near his mother’s grave in St. Petersburg and also to get rid of the cemetery of Soviet political leaders in the centre of Moscow. Recently the Russian Academy of Sciences has rigorously spoken out on the historical activity of Vladimir Lenin and has called to bury the body, demolish the mausoleum and replace it with a monument to Minin and Pozharsky.
However, the vice-president of the Russian Academy of Sciences expresses perplexity about the opinion his colleagues presented: “Academic institutes must be engaged into dealing with science, but when they make a political judgement as a respond to a public organization - it clearly looks like someone’s command”.
The opinions on whether the body of Lenin must remain in the Mausoleum or to be buried vary from extremely radical to indifferent. Lenin`s burying supporters think it is not in Russian and European traditions to make a dead body open to the inspection of everybody, while those who wants Lenin Mausoleum remain in Red Square say it is still one of the places of interest in Moscow, which is not a hindrance to anyone.