Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky told radio listeners Saturday that Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin should be laid to rest and his mausoleum turned into a museum.
"I have always thought that his body should be returned to the earth. I would observe all the essential rituals," the minister told Ekho Moskvy host Ksenia Larina on air.
"Since he was a senior public figure, if the decision were made, the burial should be accompanied by all the appropriate state rituals, distinctions and a military salute, in a worthy place."
But leaving Lenin's body in a state of "suspension" was "absurd," he said.
As a museum, the mausoleum would be a popular tourist destination, and tickets could be expensive, he added.
Medinsky explained that a decision had not been taken on the matter earlier because the burial would have cost the authorities votes in the elections.
Popular support for burying the founding Soviet leader has been on the rise, though it still stands at just over half the population. A poll in mid-April by the Public Opinion Foundation, or FOM, found that 56 percent of Russians were in favor, versus 46 percent six years ago. In the April poll, 28 percent of respondents said Lenin should remain in his mausoleum on Red Square.
Lenin's embalmed body, treated by highly-trained specialists to prevent decomposition, was interred in a mausoleum in the center of Red Square shortly after his death in 1924. Encased in glass and covered to the waist with a blanket, Lenin's body is still on display for members of the public, who shuffle through a dark underground chamber in the mausoleum illuminated by dim red-tinged lights.
Editor's Note: There are many people (myself included) who still believe that Lenin gave the order to murder Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918. Further, he is responsible for the deaths and suffering of millions of innocent people when he unleashed the Civil War and the Red Terror that followed. His hatred towards religion led to the endless violence against the Russian Orthodox Church. Lenin also signed the shameful Treaty of Bretsk-Litovsk with Germany on March 3, 1918. For these reasons, among many others, his body should be removed from the mausoleum where his memory is glorified on Red Square and interred in a cemetery. Paul Gilbert
© The Moscow Times. 10 June, 2012