November 17, 2005

Russian Orthodox Church Favors Burying Lenin

A top Russian Orthodox official said Tuesday that the country's dominant church believes the body of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin should be removed from display in a Red Square mausoleum and buried, Russian news agencies reported. He was quoted as saying caution was needed to avoid angering opponents of such a move.

There has been debate over whether to bury Lenin's body, which has been on display in a mausoleum just outside the Kremlin since 1924. In what appeared to be a Kremlin attempt to gauge public reaction to the divisive issue, a regional envoy of President Vladimir Putin said in September that Lenin's body should be taken from the mausoleum and buried.

Several senior lawmakers in the Kremlin-controlled parliament followed up on his call, proposing burial. Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov warned that his party would stage a massive civil disobedience action if authorities tried to remove the body, and the Communists launched a petition drive this month soliciting signatures against such a move.

In 2004, the head of a once-secret Russian committee that maintained the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin denounced calls to bury him and vowed to preserve the revolutionary for generations.

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