Ruling party poll backs Lenin burial

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Seventy percent of Russians voting in an online poll organised by ruling party United Russia support the removal of Lenin's body from a Red Square mausoleum and his burial, the website said Monday.

The online poll was organised by United Russia, after one of its members of parliament, Vladimir Medinsky, last week strongly backed the Bolshevik leader's burial, a hugely emotive question for many Russians.

"It's well known that Lenin himself did not plan to put up any mausoleums to himself, and his living relatives, his brother and sister, were categorically against," Medinsky was quoted as saying on the poll's website.

"Communists could not care less about what Lenin himself or his relatives wanted."

On Monday morning, 255,349 people had voted with 178,022 backing the idea of Lenin's burial, or 69.7 percent.

A report in Vedomosti business daily last week cited sources in the presidential administration as saying that the Kremlin backed Lenin's burial and was keen to test public opinion.

The presidential administration later denied that there were any plans to bury Lenin.

The Communist Party has argued that the poll is skewed and criticised the initiative as "grave-digging."

The website does not allow more than one vote to be cast from one computer, but there are no other restrictions.

Around 40 percent of adult Russians have access to the Internet, according to a recent poll by the independent FOM agency. The Communist Party gains much of its support from elderly, impoverished voters.

A poll by state polling agency VTsIOM two years ago found that 66 percent felt that Lenin should be buried eventually, although some said this should only happen when a generation has passed.

Last week, the 87th anniversary of Lenin's death prompted an annual debate on what to do with his body, which has lain embalmed in the mausoleum since his death in 1924.

The mausoleum is still open to the public free of charge, though it does not attract the enormous queues of Soviet days. It is due to close next month for a regular spruce-up of Lenin's body and his clothing.

© 2011 AFP

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