Let’s Embalm Lenin

The corpse of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union, was placed on display in Moscow's Red Square on 27th January, 1924 - where, astonishingly, he remains viewable to this day. 

He’d wanted to be buried next to his mother in Saint Petersburg, but after he suffered a series of strokes, the Soviet government instead secretly planned to build a mausoleum for his body, in part to deify him as a quasi-religious figure.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how pioneering embalming techniques were created by ‘The Lenin Lab’ to look after the cadaver; ponder how mausoleum architect Alexey Shchusev contented with the January freeze; and consider whether an embalmed Queen Victoria would be just as popular a tourist attraction…

Further Reading:

• ‘Death of Lenin’ (The Guardian, 1924): https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/23/death-of-lenin-archive-1924

• ‘Lenin's Body Improves with Age’ (Scientific American, 2015): https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lenin-s-body-improves-with-age1/

• ‘Russia: 100 Years on from Revolution’ (BBC News, 2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPmlX4kWgjs

#Macabre #Russia #Revolution

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Sophie King.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2023.

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