Transfer of Lenin’s body will improve situation in Russia – Human rights ombudsman

Lenin Mausoleum on Red Square, Kremlin Walls, Sentry

(Interfax – January 21, 2014) Russian human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said a decision on the transfer of the body of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin from the mausoleum and the elimination of the necropolis on the Red Square may be made in the nearest future.

“The Red Square is not a place for a cemetery. A decision on this matter will be made sooner or later,” Lukin told Interfax on Tuesday.

“It will improve the situation in the country. History was distorted. Lenin and Bolshevik memorials in Russia are not appropriate to their role in history. Their role is big, but it is very difficult and contradictory,” Lukin said.

Lenin died on January 21, 1924.

“Have we reached a point where it can be done painlessly to society? We probably have. However, I wouldn’t’ object to waiting 5-10 years for the situation to become even better and for people to stop attaching a lot of importance to the place where heroes of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century are buried,” he said.

“The issue is whether such time has come or not. In my view, we are moving in this direction. All these issues – not only the situation with the mausoleum, but also the situation with all graves at the Kremlin Wall – no longer draw such public response,” the ombudsman said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky called for Lenin’s body to be removed from the mausoleum and for the other graves to be removed from the Red Square.

“Today is the anniversary of Lenin’s death. We have always insisted on the elimination of this entire cemetery, not only Lenin’s, but also all other graves that are now located behind the mausoleum and in the wall,” Zhirinovsky told reporters on Tuesday, saying that the graves could be moved to the Mytishchi Memorial Cemetery.

Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the presidential human rights council, told Interfax on December 5 that the time to bury the body of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin has not come yet. At the same time, he suggested turning the mausoleum into a museum now.

Independent human rights activists disagree that the time to make a decision on the reburial of Lenin’s body has not come yet.

Vladimir Kozhin, the head of the presidential property department, said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda in December that the time for drastic decisions on the Lenin Mausoleum has not come yet.