Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lenin\'s tomb reopens for business

May 16, 2013,Moscow:--

The tomb of Russia\'s revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin has reopened after major repairs for water damage to its foundation, media reports said.

The project underscored that authorities are in no hurry to respond to calls for the communist icon\'s remains to be buried, a debate that began with the fall of communism in 1991.

''The Communists have taken on the tradition,'' Vladimir Putin said. ''They did this with knowledge and considering the needs of their time.''

The Lenin Mausoleum, a boxy structure standing just outside the Kremlin walls on Red Square, had not seen any major works for 80 years, according to the Kremlin\'s secret service FSO, which is responsible for the building.

The work was ordered because the tomb\'s foundation was starting to tilt and became water-damaged.


Cement was injected underneath to stabilise the structure, the FSO said, adding that Lenin\'s remains did not have to be moved during the work.

Debates on whether to remove the body permanently from the mausoleum constructed in 1924, when Lenin died at age 53, started after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Though the mausoleum remains a tourist attraction, increasing numbers of Russians are calling for Lenin to be buried. Russia\'s Communist party vehemently opposes the idea.

In the latest big debate on the issue last year, the ruling party United Russia launched a campaign for Lenin\'s burial, but the discussion was quickly shelved.

At that time, 56 percent of Russians said it would be better to bury Lenin, while 31 percent said his body should be left alone, according to a Levada poll.

President Vladimir Putin said in December, before the repair work began, that the body reflects Russian tradition, even controversially comparing it to the ancient Orthodox relics of saints displayed in famous monasteries in Russia, Ukraine, and Greece.

\"The Communists have taken on the tradition,\" he said at the time. \"They did this with knowledge and considering the needs of their time.\"

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