Lenin About to Turn 146, but He Still Looks 53

Russia will spend $200K this year to keep it that way
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2016 3:05 PM CDT
Lenin About to Turn 146, but He Still Looks 53
Lenin is one of several world leaders whose bodies have been preserved and put on perpetual display.   (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, File)

Maintaining the corpse of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin isn't cheap. In fact, the Russian government this year will spend about $200,000 for work of a "biomedical nature" to ensure the communist leader's body remains in "lifelike condition," the BBC reports. Lenin's preserved body, now nearly 146 years old, has been on public display in a mausoleum in Moscow for more than 90 years, according to the Atlantic. The disclosure on the cost of maintaining the body came via the country's procurement agency website. The preservation process, per a 2015 Scientific American report, includes being "reembalmed" every other year, which entails, "submerging the body in separate solutions of glycerol solution baths, formaldehyde, potassium acetate, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid solution, and acetic sodium." Lenin also wears a rubber suit under his dress clothes to keep a layer of embalming fluid covering him while on display.

In addition to the regular embalming, Lenin's eyelashes have been replaced, his nose has been re-sculpted, and artificial skin has been used to replace missing skin on his foot. Lenin reportedly wanted to be buried, CNBC reports, and plenty of Russians feel the same way. A recent poll found that 62% of 8,000 people thought the revolutionary should be given a proper burial. Some on social media decried the expense of maintaining a "mummy," but Vladimir Putin seems content to keep Lenin—who is not the only embalmed world leader on display—where he is. "The way I see it, this issue [of discussing the question of the body's reburial] should be approached with utmost care so as to avoid taking any steps that might split society," he said after the poll. (Putin had some nasty things to say about Lenin earlier this year.)

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