Lenin

W20141013-IMG_7136Mikhalevhen I arrived there were only a few people in Red Square and Lenin’s mausoleum was empty. But I was early. The tomb is open between 10AM and 1PM and only three days a week. “Go back through Voskresenskie gate (the main gate into Red Square) round the State Historical Museum and the line starts by Nikolskaya tower (one of 19 towers on the Kremlin wall),” a guard nicely explained to me. Mostly tourists and a small line. A loud Chinese group in front of me and a Portuguese family in back. Everyone wants to say they saw Lenin. What an attraction! Strange that the government makes the visit so accessible. “Was this always a tourist attraction or was this more of a ceremony during the Soviet years?” I thought to myself in the red square mist. Bells rang throughout the Kremlin announcing 10. The line shuffled towards 3 metal detectors. Everything was so solemn. Lenin’s guards stern as rocks made sure we weren’t armed. Upon entering onto the path along the Kremlin wall I realized this was not just about Lenin. Many communists were buried along the way, buried inside the Kremlin wall. Gagarin’s name was there -the first man in space. I wish I knew more names. Were these all murders? criminals? Did I want to really know them? Left down some stairs, right along a rope fence, and right again into the tomb. A guard and I made eye contact. I took of my hat. Sharp left into the darkne20141013-IMG_7145Mikhalevss and down some stairs. My eyes were not ready for the darkness and I could make out the outline of guard as I took a sharp left and down again. Then a right, and there was a light, a bright golden light – Lenin at last! Is this real? It can’t be! I put my hand inmy pocket, from behind a guard snapped at me: “no hands in your pockets!” I quickly pulled it out and began my slow walk around Lenin. He was lit so well. Covered by a blanket up to his chest, both his armsresting on top. His right arm is clenched and his left is open. What does it symbolize? The Chinese group started talking. “Shhhhhhh,” said one of the guards from behind. Is this real? I could make out his blonde beard, his eyelashes, and a pin on his chest. I couldn’t help smiling. Come and see the one and only glow in the dark Lenin for free on the Red Square! Why would anyone want their body looked at this way? Is this why Hitler burned himself? I exited trying to suppress a smile as to not insult the guards or anyone else who might care. Just before I exited I noticed Stalin’s grave. I found out later Stalin was exibited with Lenin right next to him but was later removed. Through the spruces separating the grave stood the gum, a large shopping center.20141013-IMG_7137Mikhalev