Kremlin rights advisors call for Lenin's burial
A group that advises the Kremlin on human rights has recommended to President Dmitry Medvedev that Lenin's body be buried, Kommersant business daily reported Thursday.
"Of course we need this long-due decision on burying the body of Lenin," the Kremlin rights council said in proposals handed to the president, extracts of which were published by Kommersant.
Since his death in 1924, Lenin's embalmed body has lain in state in a mausoleum in Moscow's central Red Square and remains open to the public, although it no longer attracts the huge queues of the Soviet era.
The group called for Lenin's burial in a list of steps that it said Russia should take to distance itself from its Communist past.
It also proposed a ban on officials' denying the crimes of the Stalin regime, which saw millions die in forced collectivisation and labour camps, and a ban on street names that honour officials responsible for repression.
The proposals, published on the website of Memorial, Russian rights group, said Russia should forge a new identity based on its cultural heritage of writers and poets.
"We are not a country of Lenin and Stalin but the country and people of Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy and Pasternak," the document said.
The head of the rights council, Mikhail Fedotov, told Kommersant that the group was drawing up more detailed proposals after initial support from Medvedev.
Communist politicians criticised the document, saying its proposals would breach the right to free speech and ignored the country's real problems.
Burying Lenin "has huge potential to create conflict" and "shows the desire of the rights council and the authorities to distract public attention from real problems," party first deputy chairman Ivan Melnikov told Kommersant.
An online poll launched by the ruling United Russia party in January found that more than 67 percent of respondents supported Lenin's burial.
© 2011 AFP