By Ria Novosti
The Russian Orthodox Church urges against rushed decisions over the removal of the embalmed body of Communist leader Vladimir Lenin from the mausoleum on Red Square, a senior clergyman said.
“It is obvious that the condition of Lenin’s body does not fit into Russia’s cultural tradition…but we should take into account the opinions of various social groups and avoid making decisions that entail social upheavals,” the chairman of the Synodal Department for Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church and Society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
Eighty-seven years have passed since the body of Vladimir Ulyanov, known worldwide under his pseudonym Lenin, was placed in a glass sarcophagus and displayed in a specially built granite mausoleum near the Kremlin wall.
Throughout the years of Soviet rule, the Lenin mausoleum became a symbol of the Soviet Union, and crowds of Soviet citizens and numerous delegations from foreign countries visited the tomb.
However, voices of those willing to remove the Russian revolutionary leader’s embalmed body from his granite mausoleum on Red Square and bury him are becoming stronger today, 20 years after the issue first emerged with the breakup of the Soviet empire.
In 2011, the issue of Lenin’s removal from the mausoleum was raised again by prominent members of the ruling United Russia Party apparently as an attempt to give the party a greater public appeal prior to parliamentary polls in December.
The move sparked anger from Russia’s Communists, whose leader Gennady Zyuganov accused United Russia of being only able to “destroy monuments, rename streets and dig up graves.”
According to a public opinion poll conducted in February, over 60 percent of Russians want Lenin to be removed from the mausoleum and buried, while 30 percent are in favor of leaving Lenin in the mausoleum as they believe it has long become a major tourist attraction.
The discussion seems set to continue for some time as the opinion of Russia’s top leadership remains non-committal.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the leader of the United Russia party, said in 2010 that the time when the Russian people decide on the fate of Lenin’s mummy is still to come, adding that history shows a strong dislike for haste and disturbances. President Dmitry Medvedev has never made a public comment on the issue.