This site is our response to everyone who has ever asked us what Russia is like, and for anyone who might have never wondered, but should have. It’s an attempt to put into words Russia as we see it; our go at explaining that big old riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, that in fact, never went away. It’s about understanding the views, opinions and psyche of a nation that hits our headlines daily, without many of us ever really knowing why. And ultimately, it’s about providing a picture of Russia, as seen first-hand by two people, who think that although the journey they’re on to try and understand this country might never end, the process itself is worth sharing.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Not So Happy Birthday, Comrade Lenin

Bringing you grave news from the Eastern Blog. On this notable day, the birthday of the late-lamented Vladimir Il’yich Lenin, the Russian blogosphere has been alight with rumours that this year, the Communist leader, safely tucked up in the Mausoleum as he is, will not enjoy a change of clothes, due to the economic crisis.

Under usual circumstances, Lenin’s clothes are changed every 3 – 4 years, to keep the old boy fresh. However, one report sensationally revealed that the last time Lenin’s clothes were changed was in 2003. High time for some new ones then, but alas the funds just won’t stretch to it. Another paper reported that, Yuri Denisov-Nikol’skii, vice director of the scientific-institute of medicine and plants, the organisation that maintains the mausoleum, had said:

'the government has not given a single kopeck to the organisation since 1992. Since then, [upkeep of Lenin’s body] has been funded by the fund of the Mausoleum… under such financial conditions, what kind of change of clothes can we expect?’

And yet, when questioned on the matter, Denisov-Nikol’skii had no memory whatsoever of making such a comment. Then, when, the sleuths at Sun-style tabloid, ‘Komsomolskaya Pravda’ investigated further, they were informed that Lenin’s clothes were changed approximately every ten years, when the embalming oils had to be reapplied. Lenin’s niece was not impressed by the furore:

‘Lenin’s clothes not to be changed because of the crisis? My goodness, what utter nonsense! I have visited his body several times and everything is in order… why is everyone always having a go at Vladimir Il’yich?’

Why all the fuss then? Is this a conspiracy on the part of disgruntled communists to disgrace the government? Another Lenin-based prank, a la blowing up his statue in St Petersburg? Or simply a way to grab some attention on Lenin’s birthday? We wouldn’t want to forget him now.

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