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2 Nov, 2016 14:02

Revolution ruble: Communists want Lenin on Russian money to celebrate October 1917 centenary

Revolution ruble: Communists want Lenin on Russian money to celebrate October 1917 centenary

A Communist Party MP wants coins minted and banknotes printed with portraits of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin as part of celebrations dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution.

In a letter to the Central Bank, Valery Rashkin suggested the move would be supported by a large number of Russian citizens who still have nostalgic feelings about the Soviet times.

The letter also contained a detailed plan for the commemorative event. Rashkin said that first it would be best to mint a 25-ruble coin with Lenin’s portrait, and after that a coin with the image of the battle cruiser ‘Aurora’ (another symbol of the October Revolution revered by the Communists). Lastly, a coin with a picture of Lenin surrounded by Red Army soldiers.

The lawmaker thinks that the number of commemorative coins could be about 10 million and proposed to print the same number of paper banknotes with Lenin’s image used in the design.

Rashkin emphasized that the initiative would require very little funding because the main Russian mint – the Goznak – still keeps the original Soviet printing plates with Lenin’s portrait on them and these could be easily transformed into new commemorative designs.

Lenin’s return to Russian rubles will confirm the fact that our society has finished its formation and entered the phase of maturity. This will also be good because the majority of Russian citizens have warm feelings towards Vladimir Iliych [Lenin] and the Soviet era in general, as it allowed us to become one of the world’s leading countries. We should pay tribute to Lenin, who laid the foundation of a social state in Russia,” the MP wrote.

He added that releasing commemorative coins and banknotes can yield additional profits to the state because tourists, collectors and ordinary citizens eagerly purchase them and either take them out of the country or keep them as souvenirs, removing them from circulation.

Rashkin also suggested that the initiative would be a signal to Russia’s allies and enemies in foreign nations. “Everyone knew that it was a bad idea to play games with the Soviet Union. We will let them know that our country is experiencing rebirth, that we’re becoming stronger and remember our leaders,” he wrote.

With the majority of their voters being from the older generation, the Russian Communists are heavily exploiting nostalgia for Soviet times and the legacy of Soviet propaganda with its cult of Lenin. They also use the image of Joseph Stalin as the national leader who conducted industrialization and led the people through the war with Nazi Germany, either ignoring the issue of purges and mass repressions or doubting the numbers of those killed and unjustly imprisoned that are touted by their liberal opponents.

In January this year, the Communists embarked on a row with President Vladimir Putin, saying that “history will never forgive” the comment in which Putin criticized Lenin’s concept of the Soviet state and compared it to a “nuclear bomb planted under Russia.”

A public opinion poll conducted this year shortly before Lenin’s birthday (April 22) showed that 65 percent of the Russian public believes that the first Soviet leader worked in the interests of the majority of citizens. Twenty-three percent think this was not the case, while 31 percent of respondents maintain that Lenin’s accomplishments did Russia more good than bad. Twenty-three percent perceive a negative legacy and 35 percent say the positives and negatives were approximately equal. In addition, 63 percent of those polled said they sympathize with Lenin as a person, while only 24 percent said they harbor more negative sentiments.

In addition, about 60 percent of respondents said that in their opinion Lenin’s body should be taken from the Red Square Mausoleum and properly buried. Of these, 36 percent said that the burial should be organized as soon as possible and 24 percent said the authorities should wait until the generation that holds Lenin dear passes away. Thirty-two percent of Russians claimed that they want no change and prefer Lenin to remain in state where he is – on display right near the Kremlin.