Putin: Communist ideology similar to Christianity, Lenin’s body like saintly relics
“Maybe I’ll say something that someone might dislike, but that’s the way I see it,” Putin said in an interview for the documentary Valaam, an excerpt of which was broadcast on Russia 1. “First of all, faith has always accompanied us, becoming stronger every time our country, our people, have been through hard times.
“There were those years of militant atheism when priests were eradicated, churches destroyed, but at the same time a new religion was being created. Communist ideology is very similar to Christianity, in fact: freedom, equality, brotherhood, justice – everything is laid out in the Holy Scripture, it’s all there. And the code of the builder of communism? This is sublimation, it’s just such a primitive excerpt from the Bible, nothing new was invented.”
Putin went further by comparing the Communists’ attitude to the Bolshevik leader Lenin to the veneration of saints in Christianity. “Look, Lenin was put in a mausoleum. How is this different from the relics of saints for Orthodox Christians and just for Christians? When they say that there’s no such tradition in Christianity, well, how come, go to Athos and take a look, there are relics of the saints there, and we have holy relics here,” Putin concluded.
After Lenin died in 1924, his body was embalmed and put on display in a mausoleum in Red Square, Moscow. The cult of Lenin was part of Soviet ideology. The public debate about the possibility of giving Lenin’s remains a proper burial began during the early days of Perestroika in the 1980s.
Putin’s words were music to the ears of Communist Party members. “I think these words of the president very effectively and reasonably smooth out the acute angles around the theme of the mausoleum,” Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Ivan Melnikov said on Sunday, as cited by Interfax.
He said however, that “communists and all the leftist patriotic forces [in Russia] understand that communism is close to Christianity as much as the form of capitalism that exists in our country and our economy today is far from Christianity.”
Earlier this year, Gennadiy Zyuganov, the head of the Russian Communist Party, said Putin had promised him that as long as he remains president, Lenin’s body would remain in the mausoleum in Red Square.
“As long as I sit here, there will be no barbarism in Red Square,” the Communist chief quoted Putin as saying at a conference with Russian party leaders.
According to Zyuganov, Putin also dismissed allegations that Lenin was not buried in accordance with Christian traditions. “As far as the form of the burial is concerned, they used the one that is also used in Orthodox Christianity – he lies a meter and a half below the ground level. Sepultures and cave burials have been known for a long time,” Putin said, according to Zyuganov.
Krupskaya on Lenin (excerpt)
The German advance and the capture of Pskov by them showed what danger the government was exposing itself to by remaining in Petrograd. In Finland civil war had broken out. It was decided to evacuate to Moscow. This was essential from the organizing point of view as well. The work had to be done in the centre of the country’s economic and political life.
On March 12 the Soviet Government moved to Moscow, the centre of Soviet Russia, which was at a safer distance from the frontiers and closer to a number of provinces with which closer contact had to be made.
On March 11, the day of the evacuation, Ilyich wrote an article entitled “The Main Task of Our Day,” which was published in Izvestia on March 12. This article was programmatic, and at the same time strikingly characteristic of Ilyich’s mood at the time.
The article begins with a quotation from Nekrasov’s poem Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia:
Thou art so pitiful,
Poor, and so sorrowful,
Yet of great treasure full,
Russia, my Mother!
Briefly, in a few pithy sentences, Ilyich deals with the significance of the great proletarian revolution, then mentions the humiliating character of the Brest peace. Further, he writes of the struggle for a mighty and abundant Russia:
“Russia will become so if she casts aside all dejection and all phrasemongering, if she clenches her teeth, musters all her forces, strains every nerve, tightens every muscle, and if she understands that salvation lies only along that road of the international socialist revolution upon which we have set foot. It is by marching forward along that road, undismayed by defeats, it is by laying stone by stone the firm foundation of a socialist society, and by working with might and main for the building of discipline and self-discipline and for consolidating everywhere organization, order, efficiency, the harmonious cooperation of all the forces of the people, and over-all accountancy and control of the production and distribution of products—that is the way to build up military might and socialist might.” (Works, Vol. 27, p. 135.)
“Since October 25, 1917, we are defencists,” wrote Ilyich. “We are for ‘defence of the motherland’; but that patriotic war towards which we are moving is a war for a socialist motherland, for socialism as a motherland, for the Soviet Republic, as a detachment of the world army of socialism.” (Ibid., pp. 136-37.)