Putin: Communist ideology similar to Christianity, Lenin’s body like saintly relics
Russian President Vladimir Putin has likened communism to Christianity and Vladimir Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square to the veneration of the relics of saints.
“Maybe I’ll say something that someone might dislike, but that’s the way I see it,” Putin said in an interview for the documentary Valaam, an excerpt of which was broadcast on Russia 1. “First of all, faith has always accompanied us, becoming stronger every time our country, our people, have been through hard times.
“There were those years of militant atheism when priests were eradicated, churches destroyed, but at the same time a new religion was being created. Communist ideology is very similar to Christianity, in fact: freedom, equality, brotherhood, justice – everything is laid out in the Holy Scripture, it’s all there. And the code of the builder of communism? This is sublimation, it’s just such a primitive excerpt from the Bible, nothing new was invented.”
Putin went further by comparing the Communists’ attitude to the Bolshevik leader Lenin to the veneration of saints in Christianity. “Look, Lenin was put in a mausoleum. How is this different from the relics of saints for Orthodox Christians and just for Christians? When they say that there’s no such tradition in Christianity, well, how come, go to Athos and take a look, there are relics of the saints there, and we have holy relics here,” Putin concluded.
After Lenin died in 1924, his body was embalmed and put on display in a mausoleum in Red Square, Moscow. The cult of Lenin was part of Soviet ideology. The public debate about the possibility of giving Lenin’s remains a proper burial began during the early days of Perestroika in the 1980s.
Putin’s words were music to the ears of Communist Party members. “I think these words of the president very effectively and reasonably smooth out the acute angles around the theme of the mausoleum,” Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Ivan Melnikov said on Sunday, as cited by Interfax.
He said however, that “communists and all the leftist patriotic forces [in Russia] understand that communism is close to Christianity as much as the form of capitalism that exists in our country and our economy today is far from Christianity.”
Earlier this year, Gennadiy Zyuganov, the head of the Russian Communist Party, said Putin had promised him that as long as he remains president, Lenin’s body would remain in the mausoleum in Red Square.
“As long as I sit here, there will be no barbarism in Red Square,” the Communist chief quoted Putin as saying at a conference with Russian party leaders.
According to Zyuganov, Putin also dismissed allegations that Lenin was not buried in accordance with Christian traditions. “As far as the form of the burial is concerned, they used the one that is also used in Orthodox Christianity – he lies a meter and a half below the ground level. Sepultures and cave burials have been known for a long time,” Putin said, according to Zyuganov.