MOSCOW - There are fresh grumblings in the Russian government suggesting that Vladimir Lenin has finally overstayed his welcome in Red Square.
Lenin’s body has been displayed in a specially-designed mausoleum in the central Moscow square since his death in 1924 -- the kind of treatment that apparently is destined for Venezuelan's recently departed leader Hugo Chavez.
But Mikhail Fedotov, the head of Russia's Presidential Council on Human Rights, is calling for Lenin's body to be moved to a more appropriate locations for a dead human being - like a graveyard, Kommersant reports.
“You can’t have shows and concerts at graveyards,” explained Fedotov, referring to the special events that take place periodically in Red Square.
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Lenin's mausoleum in Red Square (wikimedia)
He said that the body should be moved somewhere that could become a ‘pan-Russian Pantheon,’ of important historical figures. The mausoleum building is included in Red Square’s UNESCO world heritage site designation, so it would remain, but possibly be converted into a historical museum, Kommersant reports.
But not everyone sees an innocent attempt to give Lenin a more decent resting place. According to Vadim Solovev, head of the Communist Party’s legal service, “whenever the ruling party starts to have problems, it tries to make public opinion focus on the past.”
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He says that this idea is purely political, and that the government always talks about moving Lenin when it is feeling threatened. “Now there’s a lot of social unrest, an active opposition movement, people protesting in the street. The issue of Lenin’s body isn’t appropriate now. The next generation of Russians will decide for themselves where they think Lenin’s body should reside,” he told Kommersant.