Even the strongest deoderant on the market cannot do the job at hand. That stuff is far too mild for what is required. To overcome the smell of a decomposing body 73 years after the person’s death is a feat indeed.
This is what is happening to the father of communism, Vladimir Illyich Lenin, the Soviet leader whose putrified body is still on public display. He is currently get his annual bath of chemicals. One can almost hear him mutter, about time too.
The reason is simple. Lenin has been lying in Moscow’s Red Square for the last 73 years. He joins such other notorious characters as Mao Tze Dung of China, Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam and that even more notorious king of Egypt (no, not the current one!), the Pharaoh.
Communism is dead; so is the Soviet Union but Lenin must continue to do his duty for the ‘Motherland’. Rumour has it that Lenin’s spirit sent a word to the Kremlin masters that he would like to retire. He requested a simple burial.
With president Boris Yeltsin out of circulation except for periodic symbolic appearances, the Kremlin mafia immediately dismissed the request, saying that since Lenin did not believe in God, much less spirits, we are not going to take this seriously. Besides, funerals are expensive affairs these days. This correspondent has learnt that Yeltsin’s advisors argued that since they cannot feed the living, they can hardly spare any change for the dead. Besides, argued one wise guy, since he got us into this mess in the first place, he must continue to do his time.
The one concession they made was for Lenin’s annual chemical bath. The mausoleum closed down on January 27 until March 24 for the usual ‘repairs’, according to Mikhail Moravyov, the duty officer . It is like taking a broken car to a mechanic’s shop. He bangs a few parts of the car--not the body though, too delicate, that stuff! - and tighten a few nuts and bolts.
Lenin obviously must have a lot of loose screws. Who in his right mind would have taken communism so seriously. But then the world is full of fools. Communism survived for 70 years. Or, more accurately, communism was kept alive by the Red Army until its defeat in Afghanistan. The parting kick was delivered by Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, and the burial ceremony was performed by Yeltsin who is now himself a candidate for this ritual.
Yeltsin, at least can consider himself fortunate. His body would not be on display in Red Square or anywhere else. He looks deathly even in life. One cannot imagine Yeltsin’s body in death. It will be too frightening to look at. There is a plus point though. Were his body to be put on display beside Lenin, one could rename the mausoleum the ‘chamber of horrors’.
Anyway, back to Lenin, or his body. Since his death in 1924, Lenin’s mausoleum has closed for several months every year and a half or so to enable embalmers to give the body a thorough refreshening. Full marks to the embalmers!
During the three-month period, scientists immerse Lenin’s body in a tub of chemicals to hydrate it. Obviously, the chemicals are strong enough to kill the horrible smell as well, not to mention giving his a physical. He is often pronounced in good health. Lenin is the only dead person to be declared in great health, year after year!
For those in the living world, who are still curious, Lenin’s mausoleum remains open to the public five days a week for three hours a day. Take it from a pro, it is no fun watching that ghastly thing in a glass casket!
Muslimedia - March 1-15, 1997