Russian communists mark Lenin’s 150th birthday despite lockdown

By Ignacio Ortega

Moscow, Apr 22 (efe-epa).- Neither the coronavirus nor the blizzard sweeping through Red Square in Moscow on Wednesday could stop Russian communists celebrating the 150th birthday of the founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, Lenin, with floral offerings at this mausoleum opposite the Kremlin.

“Learn from Lenin! If people before promised to build happiness on Earth, he decided to build paradise on Earth based on justice and work,” Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the modern Communist Party in Russia, told a press conference in front of the red marble building that has housed Lenin’s mummy since 1924.

Appearing without a face mask, although protected from the cold with a red scarf, Zyuganov listed the achievements of who he termed “one of the biggest geniuses in history.”

Among those was his campaign against epidemics a century ago in the USSR.

“I would advise Russia’s modern-day leaders to study Lenin’s experience in modernization. There is nothing more amazing.

“He changed the world, the course of history and our way of life. Our health system was stand-out. We did not have a single epidemic in the army in the middle of a war.

“Learn from Lenin to make quick and energetic decisions.”

Around a hundred communist politicians came to Red Square to leave a giant wreath of flowers in front of the mausoleum despite the quarantine that has kept Russians inside for a month.

Wearing masks and gloves, but seemingly finding it hard to maintain social distancing despite communism’s renown discipline, attendees were welcomed by an uninvited guest — an unseasonably late snow shower.

“Lenin lives on in the union protests in France, in those who fight for truth and justice in Latin America and India, in the achievements of great China,” the Communist Party leader said.

After marching across the cobbled square with communist banners, the politicians took to their knees outside the mausoleum and entered to pay tribute to Lenin.

The Kremlin’s federal protection service closed the mausoleum on 18 March but made an exception for communist politicians.

The Kremlin ignored the occasion, as it did in 2017 on the hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Lenin has been the topic of criticism from President Vladimir Putin in recent years.

He has blamed the revolutionary for pushing policies that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, in particular Lenin’s decision to grant the same legal standing to every republic, from

Russia to Ukraine, which he said was a “ticking time bomb.”

“The borders were decided on in a completely arbitrary way and it was always justified. For example, Ukraine was given the Donbass,” he said, referring to a region that in 2014 became a warzone between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists.

Putin said Lenin’s right-hand-man at the time, Josef Stalin, proposed that each republic be given ample autonomy, but fell short of granting them the right to leave the USSR, an idea that Lenin rejected, and that ultimately contributed to its downfall.

Denis Parfenov, a communist lawmaker, said: “Lenin’s political and life legacy continues to influence our lives. World history is divided into before and after the Bolshevik Revolution.

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