Wednesday, October 05, 2005


What to do with an old tyrant's cadaver?
For eight decades he has been lying in state on public display, a cadaver in a succession of dark suits, encased in a glass box beside a walkway in the basement of his granite mausoleum. Many who revere him say he is at peace, the leader in repose beneath the lights. Others think he just looks macabre.

Time has been unkind to Lenin, whose remains here in Red Square are said to sprout occasional fungi, and whose ideology and party long ago fell to ruins. Now the inevitable question has returned. Should his body be moved?

Revisiting a proposal that thwarted Boris N. Yeltsin, who faced down tanks but in his time as president could not persuade Russians to remove the Soviet Union's founder from his place of honor, a senior aide to President Vladimir V. Putin raised the matter last week, saying it was time to bury the man.

May I suggest kicking him out of a helicopter somewhere over the Siberian tundra?

And here's the NYT playing to caricature:
Some still see in [Lenin] the architect of a grand and daring social experiment. Others describe an opportunist who ushered vicious cronies to power, resulting in a totalitarian police state.

And still others recognize that, vicious as his cronies and successors may have been, it was Lenin himself who defined the terms and exemplified the uses of party-state terror. It's way past time to dispense with any illusions that the dungeon which the Soviet Union became was in some way a Stalinist abberration of Lenin's idealism, rather than the necessary result of Lenin's eliminationist ideology.

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