Lenin’s grave reopens to public as Russia emerges from lockdown
After months of isolation, he’s back. Vladimir Lenin, embalmed and buried, has reopened his doors to the Russian public, drawing daring tourists to Red Square and descending a steep staircase from the mausoleum to his resting place for most of the past 96 years.
From Wednesday morning, a queue of dozens of people stretched around the mausoleum, in front of the walls of the Kremlin and up to the historical museum in red bricks. To see the preserved corpse of the former Soviet leader, you must wear a mask and gloves and pass a temperature check. Inside, visitors reported a pungent smell of cleaning solution, possibly due to recent disinfection.
After a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, attendance was moderate. “I’ve never seen the line so short,” said a young mother, who was taking her daughter and her friends out of town for the first time. We’re joking like a tourist trap. “Muscovites never come here without visitors [from out of town]. “
The reopening is another sign that life is returning to normal in Russia, if normalcy means displaying an executive who died in 1924 in a window to tourists. In a year dominated by the coronavirus and a vote to reset Vladimir Putin‘s terms as president, the age-old debate over what to do with the Soviet founder’s remains seems odd, though still divisive. .
“I still think how long are we going to be able to joke about this,” said Ivan Urgant, a late-night TV comedian. “It turns out that there are more and more places in Moscow opening up where we can spend time with our families. “
The hasty reopening of the cramped mausoleum, even though theaters and cinemas remain closed, however seemed another example of Russia’s hasty exit from its coronavirus lockdown.
The restrictions have already been lifted for political reasons: to organize a military parade to mark Victory Day, then a nationwide vote to amend the constitution to allow Putin to run for office until 2036. The overwhelming result left the president on the verge of staying in longer than Stalin (whose body was also on display alongside Lenin’s until 1961).
“Even Lenin’s self-isolation regime was called off so he could vote for the amendments,” joked Anecdotes from Russia, a popular social media account with 1.4 million followers.
Outside, police officers arrested eight activists, including members of the Pussy Riot, who protested the vote by lying in Red Square and using their bodies to spell “2036,” the year in which it could be. complete Putin’s sixth term as president.
The Red Square mausoleum has been the subject of several controversies during the coronavirus lockdown.
Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party who has run for and lost in four presidential elections since 1996, and dozens of his supporters defied the shelter-in-place order in mid-April to lay carnations at the mausoleum of Lenin on the 150th anniversary of his birth.
During the Victory Day Parade in Russia, a military spectacle postponed to June 24 this year due to the pandemic, the mausoleum was covered again, this year with photos and illustrations of soldiers.
Zyuganov called the cover-up “unacceptable,” noting that Soviet leaders watched the first parade from the top of the structure. – Guardian