From the Daily Telegraph:
The head of a once-secret Russian committee that maintains the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin denounced calls to bury him yesterday and vowed to preserve the revolutionary for generations.
Members of the Mausoleum Group still tend to his body 80 years after their predecessors embalmed it.
Valery Bykov, head of the 15-man group, criticised politicians for using this month’s anniversary of Lenin’s death to reopen a bitter debate over his future. “These people are mostly fools,” he said of a broad spectrum of politicians who want Russia to bury Lenin, close his tomb and let his legacy lie. “They have left no mark on history and never will, they are of no interest to us,” Prof Bykov said.
Opinion polls suggest growing support for removing Lenin from Red Square. There was constant debate over the issue during Boris Yeltsin’s presidency. His successor, President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB spy, has discouraged such talk, although he has restored the Soviet national anthem and encouraged Russians to be proud of their history under communism.
Prof Bykov is the fourth man to lead the Mausoleum Group since scientists were summoned to the Kremlin to freeze the decomposing body of Lenin, who died after a fourth stroke on Jan 21, 1924. They also removed and studied his brain in the search for the source of genius.
Prof Bykov’s team checks Lenin’s body every week for damage caused by the lighting in his mausoleum or changes in temperature or humidity.
They treat it with a chemical solution developed in secrecy and periodically change his clothes. “Lenin is in a fine state and we will make sure he remains so for our descendants,” Prof Bykov said. “We can guarantee preservation of his body indefinitely, certainly for a century and more.”
The Mausoleum Group also mummified and helps to maintain the bodies of Mao Tse-tung and Ho Chi Minh. It is based at Moscow’s Biomedical Technology Centre. Some say the basement holds Lenin lookalikes ready to take his place in Red Square if his corpse crumbles. Prof Bykov denies this.