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Lenin for sale? Russian politician suggests flogging Soviet leader’s body to the Chinese

Lenin for sale? Russian politician suggests flogging Soviet leader’s body to the Chinese
No stranger to controversy, veteran politician and perennial presidential candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky caused a stir online after suggesting that Russia sells the preserved body of revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin.

“In France, a businessman wants to sell the painting ‘Mona Lisa’. We could sell Lenin’s mummy. There are buyers: China, Vietnam, or some other kind of communist. Lenin, in good condition, mummified just 96 years ago,” he tweeted. The Soviet leader’s body has been on public display since shortly after his death in 1924.

The controversial Russian politician was referring to a recent suggestion by French businessman Stephane Distinguin, who proposed that France should sell the famous painting for €50 billion ($54.5 billion) to offset the financial cost of Covid-19.

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Zhirinovsky is a well-known figure in Russia and has been the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) since 1989. The politician is famous for his passionate, patriotic rhetoric and confrontational style. Over the years, Zhirinovsky has been involved in many controversial moments, including calling a fellow presidential candidate a “whore” during a televised debate.

Despite his many outlandish suggestions, Zhirinovsky isn’t the first person to suggest removing Lenin’s body from his mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square. In 1997, President Boris Yeltsin suggested removing the corpse and placing it next to Lenin’s mother, in Saint Petersburg. His successor, President Vladimir Putin, has thus far rejected suggestions to move the body, explaining that for many former citizens of the USSR, “the burial of Lenin would mean that they worshiped false values, set themselves false goals and that their life was lived in vain.”

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Just a month ago, Zhirinovsky made more headlines when he suggested that the communists celebrating Lenin’s birthday on Red Square be detained for breaking quarantine. The Soviet revolutionary would have celebrated his 150th birthday on April 22nd, and members of the country’s Communist Party had huge plans to celebrate. Scuppered by the self-isolation measures, the event was low-key, with only a handful of hardcore supporters turning up.

“We should all be in isolation. And if the communists refuse to obey the rules that apply to everyone and still go to the mausoleum ... then we suggest that their entire delegation be arrested,” the party’s press service quoted him as saying.

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