Controversy still rages over Lenin's resting place
Lenin's body has been on display in the heart of Red Square in Moscow for three quarters of a century
Communists dream of cloning embalmed leader
January 21, 1998
Web posted at: 1:46 p.m. EST (1846 GMT)
From Correspondent Steve Harrigan
MOSCOW (CNN) -- On the anniversary of his death, Vladimir
Lenin still lies where he has for more than 70 years, in Red
Square in the heart of Moscow. Outside the mausoleum,
however, controversy still rages about where the Communist
"No one is going to come in here and put their dirty hands on
this mausoleum, one of the greatest achievements in all
civilization," said Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov.
But some government reformers view the preserved corpse as
the source of all Russia's problems.
"I feel something mystical about it," said First Vice Premier
Boris Nemtsov. "Unless we bury Lenin, Russia will remain
under an evil spell."
Even Russian President Boris Yeltsin has called for Lenin's
burial in a cemetery in St. Petersburg. But so far, the
threat of confrontation with outraged Communists has kept
anyone from acting.
While politicians battle over what to do with Lenin's body,
the Russian czar's legacy of Marxism is being diluted by the
reality of modern day Russian society.
With few visitors and little government support, the Lenin
Funeral Train Museum has turned to capitalism. Part of the
museum is now an auto salon, selling Mercedes-Benzes to
Once a popular tourist attraction, today Lenin's home draws few visitors
And Lenin's home outside Moscow, which once drew more than
half a million Russians a year, is visited on a recent day by
only a few local schoolchildren and their teacher.
"I can still remember coming here as a child, how excited we
were, what a great holiday it was. Now, of course, that's all
gone. It's a pity," the teacher said.
There may be hope, however.
Officials of what is left of Russia's Young Communist Union,
are holding out for the prospect of cloning the revered
As the world's most prominently embalmed man, Lenin's remains
provide the necessary gene pool for reproduction.
But even Darya Mitina, a member of the Communist faction of
Russia's lower house of parliament, conceded that a cloned
Lenin just wouldn't be the same as the original.
"There will be no second Lenin," she said. "It's impossible
to recreate everything -- to repeat the history of 1917. We
can't recreate the social conditions of the time."