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Lenin’s Body Makes Post On Caffeinated Politics

September 21, 2019

Long-time readers to this blog know I enjoy learning at least one new thing each day, and that it usually is something from the pages of history.  This week I was reading the chapter from Peter Frankopan’s magnificent The Silk Roads about World War II.  There was exactly one line that stated during that war Vladimir Lenin’s body was moved from Moscow as the threat of German troops invading the city increased.  The Nazis came barrelling into the nation in 1941.

I had never heard that nugget about Lenin before, and the one-sentence was nothing more than a tease.  So I spent a little time online looking for more information.

Lenin’s body traveled to Tyumen so as to protect it from any damage.  Tyumen is a city on the Tura River, in the vast Russian region of Siberia.  The city is on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

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Embalmed Lenin had been on display since 1924, but the Politburo made the move with so many other evacuations as the sound of jackboots neared from the west.

Lenin’s body was removed in strict secrecy and sent far from the front lines and away from any industrial areas threatened by German bombers.  For the move Lenin’s body was encased in paraffin and placed in a wooden coffin that was then nested inside a larger wooden crate. Along with the body were sent chemicals and implements necessary for the continued preservation of the body. The crate was placed on a dedicated train secured by a selected group of Kremlin Guards. (Daddy, what did you do during the war?)  The body had its own private car and a personal guard around the clock. Additional soldiers were posted along the tracks and stations on the train’s route east.

On arrival in Tyumen, the first city in Sibera which now has about 700,000 residents, the body was housed in a dilapidated building on the campus of the Tyumen Agricultural Institute.

The tomb in Red Square was restored after 1945, but the mausoleum remains.  Dressed in a black suit, Lenin’s face remains grim and his right fist is clenched as if he was ready to take out nasty capitalists.  

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What an odd and interesting slice of history.

As Paul Harvey would say, ‘Now you know the resssssttttt of the story”.

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