Lenin should leave Red Square: Kremlin rights chief
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
Workers walk in front of a huge temporary dome covering the mausoleum of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin on Red Square, in Moscow, on February 5, 2013. AFP photoVladimir Lenin's body should be removed from Moscow's Red Square, along with the buried remains of Joseph Stalin and other Soviet officials, the chairman of the Kremlin's rights council said Wednesday.
Red Square should "either be an ice rink or a cemetery. Putting on shows and concerts, even classical ones, at a cemetery is not acceptable," Mikhail Fedotov told the Kommersant daily.
Lenin's mausoleum is no longer the main attraction on cobbled Red Square, which hosts a popular ice rink in winter as well as patriotic concerts and even horse shows, as well as the iconic military parades.
Fedotov, who has an advisory role to the president but no powers, said he believed that the graves on Red Square, which include those of Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev, "should be moved to a place that would become a pantheon for all of Russia... That would be the most civilised solution." Lenin's body should be buried according to Christian traditions, he said, while the mausoleum where his embalmed body lies would remain because it is protected by UNESCO. It could become part of the neighbouring State Historical Museum, he suggested.
Numerous top officials in Russia have backed moving Lenin's body, but President Vladimir Putin has tacitly supported the status quo.
He said in December that Lenin's displayed body reflects Russian tradition, even controversially comparing it to the ancient Orthodox relics of saints displayed in famous monasteries in Russia, Ukraine, and Greece.
A decision to move his body is seen as socially explosive, since it would be actively opposed by the still large ranks of Communist faithful.
A poll by the independent Levada centre in December 2012 found that 34 percent of Russians thought Lenin should be buried in Saint Petersburg, while 25 percent thought his body should remain in the mausoleum.