Sunday, October 4, 2009

Father of Russian Communism

Although his intentions may have been good, in trying to revitalize a country that was falling into dismay, I don't know if I'll ever understand why Russia continues to honor the man who founded years of bleakness. Lenin's memory will not be soon forgotten with the many statues that pay tribute to him in every village and city. It appears, to the common traveler, that the first leader of the USSR is idolized. It is a hard concept to digest, especially when coming from a country where religious and political freedoms are slightly taken for granted.

But no matter your thoughts towards the man, you can't pass up the opportunity to see Lenin's tomb when visiting Moscow. The red and black pyramid shaped tomb sets the mood of what is experienced inside. No cameras are allowed, there is to be no talking, no stopping, and everyone needs to walk in a single file. If any of those rules are broken a guard is quick to reprimand.

The inside of the tomb is also red and black, and quite dimly lit. As you enter the door, a stern faced guard moves his left arm and directs you to turn down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs another stern faced guard moves his right arm and directs you to turn down the corridor. (May I add that there is no other way to go than the way they're directing, so the fact that they're doing so must be for dramatic effect... otherwise they think we're clueless). At the end of the corridor you're again directed to turn down more stairs, and so it continues as you reach Lenin himself.

Whether it truly is Lenin or a wax statue of him is disputable and will probably never be disclosed. Either way, the word creepy doesn't even begin to describe what you see as you look inside his coffin. But, in a line that can't stop moving, his viewing only lasts a few seconds and you come to the end of the tour you had just barely begun. However short the tour was, though, the site of him is ever ingrained in your mind. And during the few times you think back on Lenin's immortalized body or statues of him scattered around the country, only one word comes to mind: "why?"

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