Two-thirds of Russians want Vladimir Lenin to be removed from his Red Square mausoleum in central Moscow, a new poll has shown.
The poll, organised by Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party, comes after a senior figure in the party sparked a lively debate on the issue, saying the time had come to respect Lenin’s last wishes and bury him in St Petersburg alongside his mother.
“Lenin was an extremely controversial political figure and his presence as the main figure in a necropolis in the heart of our country is absurd,” Anatoly Medinsky, an MP and member of the party’s governing committee, said.
Only 10 per cent of Lenin’s corpse remained, he said, alleging that the rest had been “ripped out and replaced a long time ago”. The body’s presence in a purpose-built mausoleum on Red Square had turned the country’s central square into a cemetery and was “blasphemous”, Mr Medinsky added.
Lenin’s waxy corpse remains a popular tourist attraction and is regularly treated with a special cocktail of chemicals to stop it from degrading.
But with a parliamentary election looming later this year and a presidential poll next year, analysts believe that the ruling United Russia party may be considering closing the Red Square mausoleum in order to show the world it is serious about modernising the country.
The poll, organised online at a specially created site mischievously named Goodbye Lenin suggested that most Russians agreed. As of Sunday afternoon, almost 200,000 votes had been cast with more than two-thirds saying they favoured Lenin being buried.
It was possible to vote more than once however and the Russian Communist party, which is staunchly opposed to Lenin’s removal, claimed the results were being rigged in order to pave the way for a bill ordering his burial.
“This is about distracting people’s attention from social problems and genuine issues concerning the Russian Federation,” Valery Rashkin, a Communist MP, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.
Lenin, who died in 1924, is still revered by the Russian Communist party as an ideological genius who laid the foundations for the world’s largest superpower.
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