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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Interesting → Bathing of... Lenin!

You can see the Vladimir Lenin's embalmed skin sack being taken from its exhibit case at the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow and given its yearly bath in a soup of formaldehyde, methanol and ethanol.

Video: Download "lenin.wmv"

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) was a Russian revolutionary, a communist politician, the main leader of the October Revolution, the first head of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic and from 1922, the first de facto leader of the Soviet Union, and the primary theorist of Leninism, an extension of Marxist theory. Lenin died on January 21, 1924, aged 53. Rumors of Lenin having syphilis sprang up shortly after his death. The official cause given for Lenin's death was cerebral arteriosclerosis, or a fourth stroke. But out of the 27 physicians who treated him, only eight signed onto that conclusion in his autopsy report. Documents released after the fall of the U.S.S.R., along with memoirs of Lenin's physicians, suggest that Lenin was treated for syphilis as early as 1895. Documents suggest that Alexei Abrikosov, the pathologist in charge of the autopsy, was ordered to prove that Lenin did not die of syphilis. Abrikosov did not mention syphilis in the autopsy; however, the blood-vessel damage, the paralysis and other incapacities he cited are typical of syphilis. Upon a second release of the autopsy report, none of the organs, major arteries, or brain areas usually affected by syphilis were cited. In 1923, Lenin's doctors treated him with Salvarsan, the only drug at the time specifically used to treat syphilis, and potassium iodide, which was customary at the time in treating the disease. Although he might have had syphilis, he had no visible lesions anywhere on his body that normally accompany the later stages of the disease. Most historians still agree that the most likely cause of his death was a stroke induced by the bullet still lodged in his neck from the assassination attempt. During the early 1920s Leonid Krasin and Alexander Bogdanov proposed to cryonically preserve Lenin's body in order to revive him in the future. Necessary equipment was purchased abroad, but for a variety of reasons the plan was not realized. Instead his body was embalmed and placed on permanent exhibition in the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow on January 27, 1924.


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