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8 Sep, 2017 13:39

Lenin remains on Red Square: Bill ordering Bolshevik leader’s burial rejected by govt

Lenin remains on Red Square: Bill ordering Bolshevik leader’s burial rejected by govt

The Russian government has reportedly rejected a Liberal Democrat bill ordering the burial of Vladimir Lenin’s remains, because the sponsors of the motion did not mention the sources of funding for the re-interment.

The news was reported by RIA Novosti on Friday, with the agency noting that the negative review of the bill was signed by the cabinet’s chief-of-staff, Sergey Prikhodko.

The bill ‘On burials and burial business’ was drafted in April this year by six lawmakers representing the parliamentary majority party United Russia, as well as nationalist populists from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). However, very soon the United Russia MPs retracted their backing of the bill, leaving the LDPR as its sole sponsor.

The nationalists proposed amending the existing Russian law regulating burials with an article ordering the “re-interment of the remains of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin)” with particular details of the procedure to be set by the government on the basis of proposals made by a specially-convened interdepartmental commission.

One of the motion’s authors, Ivan Sukharev, has earlier told reporters that he and his colleagues had decided to go forward with their proposal after a public opinion poll has shown that the majority of Russians want Lenin’s body taken out of the Red Square mausoleum and buried.

Sukharev also noted in his comments that the bill could create a “legal field” for the reburial of the remains of other well-known personalities.

Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin’s remains were placed in a mausoleum in Red Square soon after his death in 1924, although the present stone building was erected only in 1930. UNESCO considers the existing stone mausoleum a world heritage site, as part of the Red Square architectural ensemble.

Public debate about the possibility of Lenin’s reburial began during the early days of Perestroika in the 1980s. It usually intensifies every year before Lenin’s birthday and the anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution.

In one of the latest polls on the subject conducted in April 2017, at least 58 percent of Russians told researchers that Lenin’s body should be taken from Red Square and properly buried, while the mausoleum itself must remain in its current place.

In early August, the head of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), Gennady Zyuganov, said that Vladimir Putin had promised him that as long as he remains president, Lenin’s body will stay in the mausoleum in Red Square.

According to Zyuganov, Putin also dismissed allegations that Lenin had not been buried in accordance with Christian traditions.

In March this year, a senior spokesman of the Russian Orthodox Church, Aleksandr Shipkov, dismissed the idea of removing Lenin’s body from Red Square, saying that before this were to happen, Russia and neighboring countries must rid themselves of the Soviet and Communist legacy. He also called for a temporary moratorium on any war against political symbols in Russia.