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February 22, 2008
Lenin’s body may finally be taken out of its Tomb

The body of Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Great October Revolution, which has been resting in Kremlin’s Mausoleum for decades, will be committed to earth with all honours, the way a country’s leader should be interred.

The Federal Memorial Complex where greatest personas of Russian and Soviet history will be interred is expected to be unveiled in Moscow by 2010 to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. The cemetery will have several alleys. The main alley will comprise only 30 tombs.

“There will be Lenin’s tomb on the cemetery as well,” said Russian painter and project leader Sergei Goriaev in an interview with Zhizn newspaper. “The problem escalated long ago. At the session of the organizing committee devoted to the building of the memorial complex they discussed the possibilities to rebury Lenin and other great people interred on the Red Square. However, there is no official decision yet.”

Vladimir Putin signed the decree “About the Federal Military Memorial Cemetery” in 2001. But the place has been chosen only recently – a plot outside the Moscow Ring Road. The field of 53 hectares will be laid out in 34,000 grave sites.

“The Russian National Cemetery will be of the same national importance as the Arlington National Cemetery for the USA,“ says Sergei Goriaev. “Now the sculptures of the wailers are being finished, and they will be erected there.”

The memorial will be richly adorned. Architect Vitaly Chudnovtsev intended to use red and grey granite together with bronze in order to underline the merits of the people interred there.

The Federal Memorial Complex is designed for burying statesmen, heroes of Russia, heroes of the Soviet Union and knights of the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called, of the Order for Merits before Fatherland and of the Order of Glory. Veterans of war, servicemen of the Ministry for Emergency Situations, of the police and other security agencies, who were killed on duty may be buried there as well.

Russian Democrats raised the subject of burying Lenin’s body in the early 1990s. An alternative place was Lenin’s home town Simbirsk (now called Ulyanovsk , Lenin’s father is buried there). Then-mayor of St Petersburg, Anatoly Sobchak, agreed to provide a location in St Petersburg’s renowned Volkovoe Cemetery, next to his mother. But then-president Boris Yeltsin decided to leave Lenin in the Mausoleum and let history resolve the problem.

Vladimir Ulyanov-Lenin, the chairman of the Council of Peoples Commissars of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, died in January of 1924. The first wooden version of the Mausoleum was built on the Red Square seven years after his death. In five years the leader’s shrine became marble and stone.