Soviet History: The Embalming of Lenin’s Body – Fact and Fiction (1924)

A Very Ill Lenin (1923)

Joseph Stalin scared the bourgeois capitalists more than any other Communist (Marxist-Leninist) leader who has ever lived – who had been ‘voted’ into the positioned of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He looked the part and put his money where his mouth was – which is an ironic observation for a Socialist great leader of humanity who had absolutely no interest in amassing of personal wealth (as is normal for his capitalist counter-parts). Part of the US-led demonisation of Joseph Stalin (for which there is no reliable objective evidence) exists to sully his good name amongst the working-class and turn their affections toward the traitor Leon Trotsky (a collaborator with fascism and supporter of the capitalist status quo). Modern Russia, today, as a bourgeois (capitalist) country now allows this typical of hypocritical debate prevalent in the West. This means that the ‘true’ (verifiable) narrative of Soviet history is presented alongside the false narratives of Trotskyism and US anti-intellectualism – as if the latter two categories are of ‘equal historical worth’ to the first (and only) ‘legitimate’ category. In other words, fact and fiction compete for influence and deliberate ‘lying’ is accepted as a legitimate means of historical interpretation and understanding. The point of this ‘process’ is to ‘disinform’ the masses and generate a ‘false’ impression about Soviet history. To remedy this, I have carefully read through and assessed a number of Russian-language texts – and translated the relevant extracts into reliable English.  

Lenin’s Embaled Body – 1997

One untruth often hinted at by Trotsky (and embellished by various Western commentators) is that the Soviet Union – namely Joseph Stalin – sought to establish a ‘new’ religion with Lenin as the embalmed and ever present god-head at eternal repose in the Kremlin and Joseph Stalin as his prophet – Jesus Christ. Even in Russian this lunacy does not lose its humour and is entirely ridiculous, and yet it is the narrative often broadcast by the (deceased) British Trotskyite Christopher Hitchens. According to the strictures of US anti-intellectualism – Soviet Socialism views itself as a) a functioning theistic religion, and b) simultaneously employs a ruthless propaganda ‘against’ any form of ‘belief’ in theistic religion! According to Trotsky and the Western capitalists – the USSR occupies a unique place in the history of the world – as it is both is a ‘religion’ that no one can ‘worship’! It is a ‘religion’ that ‘negates’ its own existence… Such is the incoherent and reactionary view of the capitalist West! 

Lenin’s Embalmed Body – 1997

In May, 1922, VI Lenin fell seriously ill. Leading German specialists (specialising in nervous disease disorders) were summoned to treat the Head of the Soviet government, and the neuropathologist – Otfried Foerster – was Lenin’s (chief) attending physician – from December 1922 – until his death in early 1924. On October 2nd , Lenin at that time felt well enough to returned to work. His last public appearance took place on November 20th, 1922 at the Plenum of the Moscow Soviet. On December 12th, 1922, he worked in the Kremlin for the last time. On December 16th, 1922, the state of health of the Soviet Leader sharply deteriorated yet again, and on May 15th, 1923 due to illness, he moved to the Gorki Estate near Moscow. From March 12th, 1923, Joseph Stalin visited often (spending hours sat with Lenin) and ensured bulletins on Lenin’s health were published daily. From 18th – 19th of October 1923 was the time he had last visited Moscow. Lenin’s health deteriorated dramatically during that last January in 1924 – and the world held its collective breath. VI Lenin died on January 21st, 1924. 

Respectfully Preparing Lenin’s Embaled Body – 1997

It is generally agreed that VI Lenin’s illness was caused by severe congestion and the consequences of the assassination attempt carried-out at the behest of the invading Western forces on August 30th, 1918 – the murder and removal of Lenin from power being a declared US and UK war aim. This is the declared view of surgeon – Yu. M. Lopukhin – a medical expert who refers to these reasons in his extensive report after examining the body of Lenin. There were also statements suggesting that Lenin suffered from the neurovascular form of syphilis as the cause of cerebral haemorrhage – perpetuated and favoured by the forces of Western disinformation (which is often used to back-up the ‘myth’ that Lenin was sexually promiscuous or even homosexual). This ‘myth’ suggests that Lenin was treated with arsenic-containing drugs for the meningovascular form of syphilis. However, there is no evidence of this whatsoever, despite Western historians continuously including these lies in their biographies of Lenin – copying one another’s disinformation, no doubt. The conclusion of the pathologists state clearly that syphilis was not present. The attending physician of the Ulyanov family – FA Getyehe – conditionally agreed with the confirmed cause of death (of cerebral haemorrhage due to the intake of arsenic-containing drugs used against the background of atherosclerosis). Lenin’s grand-niece – OD Ulyanova – has requested that the records of her grand uncle’s death – remain classified until at least 2024.  

Lenin’s Early ‘Wooden’ Mausoleum (1924)

On January 23rd – in baggage car No. 1691 – the coffin containing the body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was delivered to Moscow. All the way from the Gerasimovskaya platform (now Leninskaya ) to the Paveletsky railway station, this funeral train was driven by Lenin’s official steam locomotive – U127 (Lenin was appointed its senior engineer 8 months before his death), which was driven by a locomotive crew from the Moscow depot. The crew included: machinist Luchin, assistant machinist Gavryushin and fireman Podvoisky. Then the coffin was installed in the Column Hall of the House of Unions – where an official farewell took place for five days and nights. On January 27th, the coffin with Lenin’s embalmed body was placed in a specially built Mausoleum on Red Square (designed by architect A.V. Shchusev). 

Ealry ‘Pyramid’ Design of Lenin’s Mausoleum – 1924

The Soviet Leadership was concerned about the fate of Lenin’s body (in case of his death) while the Leader was still alive. In the fall of 1923 – a meeting of the Politburo was held (composed of Stalin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Kalinin, Kamenev and Rykov), at which Stalin announced that Lenin’s health had deteriorated significantly, and that death was close. In this regard, Stalin announced that there was a proposal of ‘some comrades from the provinces’ (relayed to Stalin by MI Kalinin) in the event of Lenin’s death that his body be embalmed so that future generations can clearly see that Lenin had a) existed, and b) was an ordinary human-being – albeit one of progressive and dialectical understanding. Although the disinformers working for the West often assert that the embalming of Lenin was kind of ‘ego trip’ perpetuated by Stalin – there is no evidence for this. It seems that MI Kalinin – who travelled and taught widely throughout the USSR – had discussed this issue with many different people. Whereas the Russian Orthodox Church encouraged the idea of religious ‘icons’ (the Church possessed hundreds of ‘fingers’ – all supposedly belonging to the historical Christ) – an idea was had that the undermining of religious ignorance could be achieved if Lenin’s body was treated as if it were a ‘secular’ icon celebrating the Socialist Revolution. This had the advantage that a) Lenin’s body was ‘real’, b) he had led the Socialist Revolution, and c) only the material world existed and be preserved. The future generations of the world could come and pay their respect to the ordinary human man who had changed the world forever! This would confirm that there was ‘no god’ and that humanity was in-charge of its destiny. Lenin’s embalmed body became a symbol like a religious ‘icon’ which was designed to undermine the belief in religion and the triumph of science over superstition! 

Lenin – Gorki Estate – Moscow – 1923

On February 26th, 1924, a medical commission was established “to monitor the state of embalming of the body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and to take the necessary measures in a timely manner.” The issue of preserving the body discussed during at least thirteen meetings. The first embalming could not preserve Lenin’s body for a long time, whilst the spring warming prevented further work. In early March, Academician Alexei Abrikosov announced the appearance of pigmentation on Lenin’s body and a change in skin colour – irreversible processes began. A new, thorough embalming was required. The Executive Committee, chaired by Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, decided to use low temperatures to preserve the body. Professor of anatomy Vladimir Vorobiev spoke out against freezing: he believed that this would only worsen the condition of the body. 

On March 5th – 12th, 1924, two meetings with scientists were held. They were given the task of preserving Lenin’s body (for the longest possible period) in an accessible form for continuous viewing over the years. 

Boris Zbarsky and Vladimir Vorobyov proposed a method of long-term embalming: Vladimir Vorobyov was engaged in the mummification of animals and birds – the mummies were kept at the academic department (under normal conditions) and have been preserved in excellent condition for 15 years. After listening to the proposals – the scientists were given the task of carry-out the embalming project. To carry out this plan, the Mausoleum was closed again, and on March 26th, 1924, a special-purpose laboratory was established. 

The task required constant supervision and round-the-clock work. By order of Dzerzhinsky, tram rails and electrical wires were laid to the Mausoleum, a specially equipped carriage was installed so that scientists could rest from work in normal conditions. 

Vorobiev used a mixture of formalin, potassium acetate and glycerine. The process went as follows: for several days Lenin’s body was covered with cotton wool soaked in formalin, after which it was placed in a bath with a 3% formaldehyde solution. To deeply impregnate the muscles with formalin and embalming solution, incisions were made on the body. 

Lenin’s Cat Use to Visit His Master – 1924

In April, Vorobyov used perhydrol to whiten the darkened areas of the skin. When Lenin’s body was transferred to the bath, alcohol and glycerine were added to it one by one, and in June they added potassium acetate. At the end of June, the liquid in the bath consisted of the following components: 240 litres of glycerine, 150 litres of water and 110 kilograms of potassium acetate. 

On May 26th, at 4pm, the Mausoleum was visited by delegates of the XIII Party Congress. The success of the scientists impressed the delegates. In June 1924, work began on the construction of the sarcophagus, and the Mausoleum was opened for one day for the participants of the Fifth Congress of the Comintern. On July 26th, the Commission of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR for the perpetuation of Lenin’s memory recognized the new embalming as a success. It gave the right to count-on the preservation of Lenin’s body for decades to come. 

Lenin’s brain (the Bekhterev Institute) was divided into about 30,000 slices and each was placed between two glass plates: in the 1920s, it was believed that a person’s genius could be determined by the structural elements of the brain, for which the brain was cut into the finest slices. 

The idea of creating the Mausoleum contained elements of not only Christian, but also more ancient traditions – the custom of embalming rulers existed in Ancient Egypt, and the structure itself resembled a Babylonian ziggurat. The Western disinformers tend to remain ‘quiet’ about these ‘religious facts when they peddle their falsehoods about religious oppression in the USSR.  

Lenin and Stalin in ‘Repose’- 1953

The first wooden Mausoleum (designed by A.V. Shchusev) was erected on the day of the funeral of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin) (January 27th, 1924), and had the shape of a cube, crowned with a three-stage pyramid. It stood only until the spring of 1924. 

In the second temporary wooden Mausoleum, installed in the spring of 1924 (designed by A. V. Shchusev), stands were added to the stepped volume on both sides. The initial design of the sarcophagus was recognized as technically difficult and the architect K. S. Melnikov developed and presented eight new versions within a month. One of them was approved and then implemented as soon as possible under the supervision of the author himself. This sarcophagus stood in the mausoleum until the end of the Great Patriotic War (1945). 

The laconic forms of the second Mausoleum were used in the design of the third, now existing version of reinforced concrete, with brick walls and granite cladding, with marble, Labrador and crimson quartzite (porphyry) trim (1929 – 1930 , designed by A.V. Shchusev with a team of advisors) … Inside the building there is a lobby and a funeral hall, designed by II Nivinsky, with an area of 100 m². In 1930 at the sides of the Mausoleum were built new guest tribunes (architect IA Frenchman), which decorated the graves near the Kremlin wall. 

During the Great Patriotic War, Lenin’s body was evacuated from the Moscow Mausoleum to Tyumen, where it was kept in the building of the current Tyumen State Agricultural Academy. The Mausoleum itself was disguised as a mansion. 

Reactionary forces both inside Russia and outside continuously seek the burial and/or destruction of the body of Lenin because his existence is viewed as a ‘threat’ to the dominance of predatory world capitalism! Even Lenin’s dead body inspires people from all over the world and the bourgeois West is continuously seeking its demise from the world. As Communism still remains popular in Russia today, the Communists have managed to rally in the State Duma and carry-out democratic votes which have ‘saved’ every attempt so far to destroy Lenin’s body in the name of Western capitalism! If Lenin’s body is ever finally destroyed – the West will then begin the propaganda that the USSR never existed and is a ‘myth’ invented by those who dislike capitalism! Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom!  

Lenin’s ‘Eternal’ Tomb

Russian Language References: 

https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Смерть_и_похороны_Ленина

https://www.kramola.info/vesti/vlast/kak-i-zachem-balzamirovali-lenina

https://history1.ru/all/tpost/z3n9y1isvj-lenin-ne-hotel-lezhat-v-mavzolee

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