Lenin Lab: the team keeping the first Soviet leader embalmed

[From The Guardian]

2000He lies in a glass sarcophagus, his reddish moustache trimmed and his hands resting on his thighs. Dressed in an austere black suit, Vladimir Lenin, the first Soviet leader, looks at first to be a waxwork.

Yet this is in fact the preserved body of a man who died 92 years ago. If carefully monitored and re-embalmed regularly, scientists believe he can last in this state for centuries more.

But it might get expensive. Last month, the Federal Guard Service – which looks after all grounds near the Kremlin, including the mausoleum Lenin is kept in – announced for the first time that the costs for the “medical and biological works to maintain Lenin’s body” would amount to 13 million roubles ($197,000) in 2016.

When Lenin died in January 1924, no one planned to preserve his body for quite this long. In fact, the renowned pathologist, Alexei Abrikosov, who performed the autopsy on the body, cut its major arteries. “Later he would say that if he had known they would embalm the body, he wouldn’t have done it,” says Alexei Yurchak, professor of social anthropology at the University of California. “The blood-vascular system could have been used to deliver embalming chemicals to the tissue.”

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