Title Title
Lenin's embalmed body is decaying because "he's a symbol of a previous dictatorial state" Communism may be gone but Lenin's still there
Summary Summary
Vice president of the British Institute of Embalmers says Russia regards Lenin a "tyrant" so bath his body in preservatives less Lenin stands the test of time 100 years after Bolshevik revolution
Highlights Highlights
Content Content
Russian revolutionary<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Lenin#Death_and_funeral:_1923.E2.80.931924"> Vladimir Lenin </a>served as head of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924, but even after death remained an embodiment of its ideals until the union's <a title="Dissolution of the Soviet Union" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissolution_of_the_Soviet_Union">dissolution</a> in 1991. He is a symbol of contemporary Marxism–Leninism ideology, considered one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, and his body still remains preserved and on show in Lenin's Mausoleum, Moscow.  
After increasingly poor health, and a series of strokes, Lenin died on January 21 1924. Officials noted his cause of death as an <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Lenin">incurable disease of the blood vessels</a>. Besides changing tombs, maintenance, and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenin%27s_Mausoleum">being evacuated in 1941</a>, due to Russian fears of German occupation, Lenin's body has been on public display since his death. Despite his body being 147 years old, and being exhibited for 94 years, he looks like he is still in his 50's.  
Dr Phillip Gore, chairman of a funeral company and the second vice president of the <a href="http://www.bioe.co.uk/">British Institute of Embalmers,</a> says Lenin's body "looked perfect until about the late 80's when the Soviet Union disintegrated", after which government funding to the institute responsible for Lenin's preservation ended.  
  <strong>A century after the Bolshevik revolution, a 147-year-old corpse <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissolution_of_the_Soviet_Union">outlasts</a> the Soviet Union – the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin.</strong>
  Despite being on public display in its mausoleum in Red Square for nearly 100 years, the body looks like he's still in his 50s thanks to the ongoing work of an increasingly elderly group of embalmers in the so-called "Lenin Lab".
  "He doesn't look perfect now, but he looked perfect until about the late '80s when the Soviet Union disintegrated," says Dr Phil Gore, second vice president of the British Institute of Embalmers who says he visited the mausoleum in 2011.
  [caption id="attachment_19211" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]<img class="wp-image-19211 size-large" src="https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wikitribune-uploads-master/2017/11/1999-07-19T120000Z_900964178_RP1DRILWDCAB_RTRMADP_3_RUSSIA-LENIN-1024x720.jpg" alt="Vladimir Lenin's corpse" width="1024" height="720" /> The body of the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin lies in the Mausoleum on Red Square in Moscow. REUTERS/Reuters Photographer[/caption]
  Maintenance on Lenin has been reduced and the time between his regular baths in a secret mix of chemicals has been stretched out. "There have been these various ridiculous reports that it's actually a wax form effigy. Well, the reason that there is a slight, slight sheen to him is that he has a 'waterproofing' compound covering all exposed parts, to minimize the evaporation of preservative compounds, giving him that slightly waxy, glisteny look."
  Lenin remains on display and is a major tourist attraction. Besides changing tombs, maintenance, and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenin%27s_Mausoleum">being evacuated in 1941</a> as Nazi troops approached Moscow, Lenin's body has been on public display since his death.
  Lenin conceived and orchestrated the Bolshevik October Revolution in 1917 and served as the head of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. His body was never intended to be on display for so long after his death on January 21, 1924 by what was said at the time to be an incurable disease of the blood vessels after poor health and a series of strokes.
Gore says Lenin's body remained in near perfect condition for so long because of routine baths, every six to eight weeks, in a solution of secret quantities of alcohol, glycerine, potassium acetate, and water. The bath the body was periodically placed in was glass rather than metal, so that the chemicals in the solution wouldn't react with it.  Gore says Lenin's body remained in near perfect condition for so long because of routine baths, every six to eight weeks, in a solution of secret quantities of alcohol, glycerine, potassium acetate, and water. The body was placed in a glass bath rather than a metal container, so that the chemicals in the solution wouldn't react with it.
Once The Center for Scientific Research and Teaching Methods in Biochemical Technologies in Moscow, or 'Lenin lab', no longer had the funds to maintain Lenin's appearance, the mausoleum relied on donations. That was until the Russian state started financing the mausoleum again, several years ago.  
<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/09/lenin-lab-team-keeping-first-soviet-leader-embalmed-moscow">The 'Lenin lab' even helped</a> embalm the preservation of former Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, Bulgarian leader Georgi Dimitrov and Korean leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. They also embalmed and kept former Russian leader Josef Stalin preserved from 1953 to 1961, until his second successor, Khrushchev, had Stalin's <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin#Death_and_funeral:_1953">body removed and buried.</a>  
  Once The Center for Scientific Research and Teaching Methods in Biochemical Technologies in Moscow, or 'Lenin Lab', no longer had the funds to maintain Lenin's appearance, the mausoleum relied on donations until the Russian state started financing the mausoleum more recently. As <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/09/lenin-lab-team-keeping-first-soviet-leader-embalmed-moscow"><em>The Moscow Times</em> reported</a>, the "Lenin Lab" also worked on former Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, Bulgarian leader Georgi Dimitrov and Korean leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. Its embalmers also kept former Russian leader Josef Stalin preserved from 1953 to 1961 until his second successor, Nikita Khrushchev, had Stalin's <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin#Death_and_funeral:_1953">body removed and buried.</a>
After Lenin's autopsy by Alexei Abrikosov, chemists Vladimir Vorobyov and Boris Zbarsky<a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lenin-s-body-improves-with-age1/"> used knowledge of </a>preserving anatomical specimens, and adapted it for maintaining Lenin. Lenin's brain was even removed and examined by the Soviet “<a href="https://www.vice.com/sv/article/qbejbd/a-visit-to-moscows-brain-institute">Brain Institute</a>” with the specific role of studying his “extraordinary abilities.”  After Lenin's autopsy by Alexei Abrikosov, chemists Vladimir Vorobyov and Boris Zbarsky<a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lenin-s-body-improves-with-age1/"> used knowledge of </a>preserving anatomical specimens, and adapted it for maintaining Lenin, the Scientific American reported. Lenin's brain was even removed and examined by the Soviet “<a href="https://www.vice.com/sv/article/qbejbd/a-visit-to-moscows-brain-institute">Brain Institute</a>” (as reported by Vice) -- with the specific role of studying his “extraordinary abilities.”
Zbarsky put formalin into Lenin's tissues and the 'Lenin lab' continued to submerge Lenin's body in a 3 percent solution of formaldehyde roughly every 2 months.  
Gore says that this doesn't happen as often now because Lenin's "a symbol of a previous dictatorial state" and that as Russia regards Lenin a "tyrant", any further preservative elements have been stopped.  
Upon visiting the mausoleum in 2011, Gore said he found Lenin's condition to be deteriorating and that his tissues had started to dry out.  
  Zbarsky put formalin into Lenin's tissues and the 'Lenin Lab' continued to submerge the body in a three percent solution of formaldehyde roughly every two months. Gore says that doesn't happen now because Lenin is "a symbol of a previous dictatorial state. Because now Russia, as opposed to the USSR, regards Lenin as some sort of tyrant, any further preservative elements have been stopped."
That might not be a problem anymore though because various <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-36035076">polls</a> within the last few years have found most Russians think Lenin should be buried. However, it seems unlikely this will happen, considering t<a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lenin-s-body-improves-with-age1/">he mausoleum closed so that scientists could prepare Lenin's body</a> for its reopening in 2015, as part of the 145th anniversary of Lenin's death.  That might not be a problem though because various <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-36035076">polls</a> within the last few years have found a majority of Russians think Lenin should be buried. However, it seems unlikely this will happen, considering <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lenin-s-body-improves-with-age1/">the mausoleum closed so that scientists could prepare Lenin's body</a> (Scientific American) for its reopening in 2015, as part of the 145th anniversary of Lenin's birth.
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Categories Categories
Russia  Medicine, Russia, Russia
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  report
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  embalming, Lenin, Vladimir Lenin
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Sources Sources
  <h2>Correction:</h2>
  <p>November 17 2017 –  145th anniversary of Lenin’s ‘death’ changed to ‘birth.’</p>
  <h2>Disclaimer:</h2>
  <p>Dr Gore wanted us to make clear that his views don’t necessarily represent those of the British Institute of Embalmers in regards to Lenin.</p>

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