Comrade Lenin Gets a Bath..

September 6th, 2007
submit to reddit Share

Warning: More pics of old naked dead Soviet ahead…

When Vladimir Lenin died in 1924, he asked that there be no memorials to him and that his body be given a simple burial next to his wife. Although his intentions were pretty clear, the father of Soviet communism would not be put in the ground. Stalin and others high up in the party decided that Lenin could be of use for propaganda. And not just Lenin’s image, but his actual remains. The idea was hatched to have Lenin lie in state predominantly and become a sort of shrine to the Soviet Union. It’s theorized that in a system that opposed religion, having a shrine to the body of Lenin could, in some ways, take the place of more traditional religious gathering places. A design for a public mousolium was drawn up and it’s location was decided to be red square.

 

As it is today:

So preserve Lenin they must. The initial idea was to simply use a freezer, which seemed like a pretty effective way of keeping the dear comrade from going bad, but the plans to import the refrigeration system were taking too long, and Lenin was starting to.. deteriorate. It probably would not have been the best means anyway, because doing so would have left a rather frosty and pale looking corpse on display. So plan B: chemically embalm and preserve the leader.

Stopping the decay of his corpse, on the surface, doesn’t seem like that daunting of a challenge. If you pump it full of every highly toxic anti-microbial chemical you can find you’ll stop it from being consumed by bacteria, but that is not good enough for a body which is to be on display. Even without bacterial feasting on the flesh of Lenin, his body would dry out and fluids would begin to pool and drip. Not a very good thing for body which was supposed to represent the ideals of the state.

So what are the options?
- Traditional Mummification? No. Egyptian-style or other preservation relies on drying the flesh. Hardly leaves a presentable and peaceful-looking body.

- Formaldehydes or other chemical? No. The traditional method of keeping specimens would have Lenin swimming in a tank of formaldehyde, looking rather like a prune as the fluid discolored from leaching color out of his body. Not good.

- Stuffing? Doesn’t really preserve the body, but rather takes off the skin and preserves it, the internals are a framework or filler like sawdust. It’s hard to do well for anything which has bare skin, but works alright for furry animals. Doesn’t seem very dignified for Lenin.

- Plasterization or Paraffin infusion? These work great for keeping bodies in generally good condition by replacing the water in the body with wax or plastic. They were used for Eva Peron’s body and are used for medical specimens , but that’s another story. At the time though, they did not exist…

So what to do? Well, a team of scientists were assembled and began to work on the body. First thing: Take out most of the internal organs. Lenin’s….ahem… wedding tackle… was left in place, because that would just add insult to injury to take that off.. Next, address the issues of drying, which despite being kept on ice, were already causing problems. Lenin’s skin was turning grey and shriveled and his ears were very noticeably shriveled and bunched. The answer? Immersion in a solution of glycerin mixed with various preservative chemicals, which would infuse his body and give it a nice plump moist look. The exact procedure is a secret, but it is believed that the Lenin’s bod was treated with a combination of quinine chloride, formalin, formaldehyde and other chemicals, which, added to the glycerin and water solution, help inhibit microbial decay.

The only problem with this (aside from the fact that it doesn’t do a perfect job in keeping the flesh from yellowing and slowly deteriorating) is that the body needs regular upkeep. A special tomb was built for Lenin in Red Square, where he would lay in a glass casket for viewing by onlookers who can shuffle by. His body is kept at a constant temperature and at a high level of humidity. However, despite this, his body still needs constant servicing. Every two weeks or so, his hands and face are soaked in the glycerin solution to keep them from shriveling and his body is inspected for any decay. Occasionally he sprouts a little fungus or discolored splotches, which the embalmers bleach away with a dab of hydrogen peroxide.

Every year, the tomb is closed and the body is taken to the back rooms for its regular servicing. Lenin is given the once-over for any fungus or areas of deterioration, which are disinfected and touched up if necessary and he gets a dip in the glycerin embalming solution to keep him looking his best. Next, it’s a fresh new suit and back to his adoring public. During the Soviet era, the embalmers of Lenin had a coveted and highly prestigious job, but since the fall of communism the upkeep of the tomb and body have lost their state funding and are now paid by donations and visitors.

Bath time!

 

Um… if it were me doing this, I think I might consider gloves…

 

 

 

No peaking at the great leader’s bits and pieces!

 

Rub-a-dub-dub and dry off..

 

Now… a nice new stylish but comfortable suit…

(Under the suit, much of the body is wrapped in rubber bandages to help keep the fluids from leaking out)

 

There we go: Communist Eye for the dead guy! MAKEOVER!

The tomb remains open to this day daily from 9am to 1pm and visitors still file by the body. Inside, they can only get within a few feet and photography is generally prohibited. (Probably because they want you to buy postcards and stuff in the gift shop… [kidding]) The body is kept under very warm and soft lighting which makes the discolored hair and yellowed skin a bit less noticable. Lenin is said to look peaceful. Some say he looks like he is sleeping; others think he looks like a wax dummy.

 

Despite the obvious non-pristine of the corpse, the embalmers insist Lenin is doing quite well and that he can last a good century or more. But calls have been made to put Lenin to rest and end the 75 year show. Putin weighed in saying that it’s about time the guy gets a burial. Before him, Yeltsin had insisted it was time to put the relic of communism in the ground. But fanatical supporters of the tomb have, thus far, had their way and kept the leader in his glass case.

Interestingly, the tomb was shared with Stalin from his death in 1953 until 1961. Stalin fancied himself to be a revolutionary and every bit as important as Lenin, if not more so. But it wasn’t long before the “De-Stalinization” of the Soviet Union began. Even in Soviet Russia, they recognized Stalin for the mass murdering tyrant he was. But Lenin… there are still more than a few with a soft spot for the old comrade.

Links/Sources:
http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldleaders/a/stalinembalm.htm
http://www.aha.ru/~mausoleu/ (official website of the tomb)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenin’s_Mausoleum
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/264087.stm
http://www.deathonline.net/disposal/preservation/lenin.cfm
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n21_v46/ai_15930008

The images on this page were taken from images found online on multiple pages, including the Associated Press archive and other sites. They are believed to be public domain and are widely avaliable. The only exception to this are the embalming images which came from vidcaps posted a long time ago from a Russian documentary which ran once. It is unknown what the copyright of such a documentary would be, as it was created by Russian government-sponsored television and Russians don’t really respect intellectual property to begin with. The show ran once and was deemed to show a bit too much, it has since been censored from TV.


This entry was posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2007 at 10:49 am and is filed under Culture, History, Misc, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
View blog reactions



32 Responses to “Comrade Lenin Gets a Bath..”

  1. 1
    Nick Says:

    Interesting read but also kinda ewwwww..


    Quote Comment
  2. 2
    Jaipal Singh Rathore Says:

    Do you know about a precious old Antiques coin 1616 LIBBO? and about it’s worth in thousands of crores dollars………


    Quote Comment
  3. 3
    kurye Says:

    great article thank you


    Quote Comment
  4. 4
    alex Says:

    very good article, very educational!


    Quote Comment
  5. 5
    Tibbar Says:

    Those pictures of “Lenin Bathing” look fake to me, first if this picture is real then why are both of his hands open. When he is shown to the public one hand is closed (to symbolize your stupidity), but in your bathing photos both hands are open. Minutes after a person dies Rigor mortis starts to set in, which is caused by a chemical change in the muscles after death, causing the limbs of the corpse to become stiff and difficult to move or manipulate. In humans it commences after about 3 hours, reaches maximum stiffness after 12 hours. I am not saying that I know that this is not a picture of Lenin, but the hands, face, beard, and wrinkles don’t match to what I have seen first hand. You my friend should do more research.


    Quote Comment
  6. 6
    drbuzz0 Says:

    It’s real. Rigor Mortis is temporary and certainly does not present in a body like his which has been denatured by the chemicals.

    Here’s part of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-iXUkXj8fw&feature


    Quote Comment
  7. 7
    sasha Says:

    Lenin didn’t have no hair on his head, in the eight picture the body has hair on on the head lennin was bold how you match the photos my friend


    Quote Comment
  8. 8
    drbuzz0 Says:

            sasha said:

    Lenin didn’t have no hair on his head, in the eight picture the body has hair on on the head lennin was bold how you match the photos my friend

    He was not completely bald. His hair was very thin and primarily limited to a fringe, but he was not completely bald, as is evident in this photo taken just a year before his death.

    http://knol.google.com/k/-/-/1i7aar4mqflvt/bwb4gl/lenin-in-1922.jpg


    Quote Comment
  9. 9
    SOVIETMischa Says:

    hello, my english is not at good if you can no hear me i am sorry.
    i think that when person dead they hair still gets longer.
    i do not know this is real but i hear friend speak it to me.

    mishca


    Quote Comment
  10. 10
    Matthew Says:

            SOVIETMischa said:

    hello, my english is not at good if you can no hear me i am sorry.
    i think that when person dead they hair still gets longer.
    i do not know this is real but i hear friend speak it to me.

    mishca

    As I understand it, the hair doesn’t grow. Rather, the skin recedes, so that hair which was previously inside the scalp comes out.


    Quote Comment
  11. 11
    DV82XL Says:

            Matthew said:

    As I understand it, the hair doesn’t grow. Rather, the skin recedes, so that hair which was previously inside the scalp comes out.

    I concur. It is dehydration of the flesh that causes the skin to shrink. The effect of apparent post mortem hair growth it is said, is most pronounced on men with dense beards, where a ’5 o’clock shadow’ can appear on a previously shaved face.


    Quote Comment
  12. 12
    drbuzz0 Says:

    Well, in this case, Comrade Lenin is supposed to not get dehydrated. That’s kinda the whole point of giving him a bath. The corpse would otherwise dry out or at the very least the lack of circulation would cause the fluids to pool at the lowest point. Hence he is regularly infused with new fluid. The body is infused with a glycerol based solution and wrapped in rubber bandages to keep it from leaking.

    Also, in this picture Comrade Lenin makes for an interesting cake: http://afterlives.blogspot.com/2009/08/addendum-to-post-on-lenins-corpse.html


    Quote Comment
  13. 13
    I'mnotreallyhere Says:

    Much as I don’t like to support the lunatic fringe, I will say that there’s some merit to a seeming inconsistency between those photos.

    The photos of Lenin-in-case look recognisably like the chap who’s been the subject of so many history textbooks. Significant balding, impeccably groomed ‘tache ‘n’ goatee, flat forehead, enlarged frontal cranial area to store all that communist wisdom and intellect.

    However, Lenin-getting-bath looks notably different. The hair is distinctly longer and wispier – much paler than the comrade’s usually appears too. The beard situation has clearly gotten out of hand – whilst dehydration would allow a 5 o’clock shadow you’d think that it had stopped by “bathtime” and that his attentive carers would have shaved the old boy to look his best. And the forehard doesn’t look right. It’s hard to be sure, but take a good look at the forehead angle in that second-to-last photo of the “drying off”. Compare it with the angle of the nose – bathtime Lenin seems to have a forehead roughly parallel to his nose. Now go to the first photo of Lenin interred and check that big flat forehead again.

    Oh, and while you’re there, go have a look at the ears.

    However, it’s hard to genuinely suspect conspiracy to fabricate Lenin’s body (in Soviet Russia conspiracy makes up you! – sorry) as there could be dozens of different things at work. Let’s start with: those photos of Lenin-in-case were probably taken decades ago and are simply the stock photos distributed today, given you can’t go and take photos of him there’s no chance of competing images getting out.

    But actually I’m inclined to put forward a different theory. I’m going to say it. I don’t think that’s Lenin taking a “bath”. Which isn’t to say I don’t think he’s preserved like that. I just think that those photos weren’t of him. Because I rather suspect they’re of Stalin.

    http://www.russiablog.org/2006/04/lenins_body_to_be_buried_in_20.php

    Take a look at the photo at the bottom, showing Stalin in profile. Then again at that “drying off” photo. To my mind (small and shrivelled as it is) the man taking a bath is Stalin and the error is simply one of either the documentary makers or translators in not properly explaining which one is in that footage.


    Quote Comment
  14. 14
    drbuzz0 Says:

            I’mnotreallyhere said:

    However, Lenin-getting-bath looks notably different. The hair is distinctly longer and wispier – much paler than the comrade’s usually appears too. The beard situation has clearly gotten out of hand – whilst dehydration would allow a 5 o’clock shadow you’d think that it had stopped by “bathtime” and that his attentive carers would have shaved the old boy to look his best. And the forehard doesn’t look right. It’s hard to be sure, but take a good look at the forehead angle in that second-to-last photo of the “drying off”. Compare it with the angle of the nose – bathtime Lenin seems to have a forehead roughly parallel to his nose. Now go to the first photo of Lenin interred and check that big flat forehead again.

    I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but supposedly Lenin’s brain was removed. This would have been done by making an incision around the head at forehead level with a bonesaw. It’s common practice for autopsies. In Lenin’s case, the Soviets said they wanted to study his brain to try to discover what made him such a genius.

    As the removal of the brain leaves a fairly dramatic incision behind, it can b a bit difficult to deal with when a body has to be made presentable, such as for an open-casket wake. Mortitions usually use a combination of wax and makeup to cover and hide it. He may therefore have a good quarter inch of wax and makeup on his forehead. I don’t know if they redo it when he is bathed. It’s likely that it’s at least partially redone.

    Also, while the pictures of the bath/servicing are fairly recent, I have no idea how old the photos of the body laying in state are.

            I’mnotreallyhere said:

    But actually I’m inclined to put forward a different theory. I’m going to say it. I don’t think that’s Lenin taking a “bath”. Which isn’t to say I don’t think he’s preserved like that. I just think that those photos weren’t of him. Because I rather suspect they’re of Stalin.

    http://www.russiablog.org/2006/04/lenins_body_to_be_buried_in_20.php

    Take a look at the photo at the bottom, showing Stalin in profile. Then again at that “drying off” photo. To my mind (small and shrivelled as it is) the man taking a bath is Stalin and the error is simply one of either the documentary makers or translators in not properly explaining which one is in that footage.

    Stalin was supposedly burred some time ago.


    Quote Comment
  15. 15
    I'mnotreallyhere Says:

    Well it’d depend on the age of the documentary clearly, it can’t be Stalin if he’d already been buried. Interesting thought on the brain removal, it seems an odd way to treat the old comrade.


    Quote Comment
  16. 16
    Hithwith Thitheth Says:

    Interesting pictures, but do you have any pictures of dead American presidents? That would be just as awesome, too, like a dead Ronnie Reagan or George Bush, plus with funny comments, like dead Reagan’s anus being shown, or George Bush’s wrinkled old dead balls. You could add funny comments just like you do here. Awesome, dude!


    Quote Comment
  17. 17
    Matthew Says:

            Hithwith Thitheth said:

    Interesting pictures, but do you have any pictures of dead American presidents? That would be just as awesome, too, like a dead Ronnie Reagan or George Bush, plus with funny comments, like dead Reagan’s anus being shown, or George Bush’s wrinkled old dead balls. You could add funny comments just like you do here. Awesome, dude!

    Well, if the Americans lovingly preserved and displayed the bodies of their dead presidents like pagan idols, he might be able to. Unlike the Soviets/Russians, they don’t.


    Quote Comment
  18. 18
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Hithwith Thitheth said:

    Interesting pictures, but do you have any pictures of dead American presidents? That would be just as awesome, too, like a dead Ronnie Reagan

    Uh.. in general, American presidents are not preserved and out on show for the public to gawk at. The (partial) exception to this would be Lincoln, who was buried but only after a nation-wide funeral tour that took months. However, no official photo session was ever granted and at the time it wasn’t as easy as taking out a camera and snapping a picture. Despite this, there was one photo taken which can be seen here: http://www.assustador.com.br/show.php?pid=503&page=1

    I do have these pictures in my “conspiracy” folder of John F Kennedy: http://www.celebritymorgue.com/jfk/jfk-autopsy.html

    There are others and more detailed ones if you want to go looking for them.

    We do have movies and photos of him actually getting killed too.

    There’s also the death mask of Ulysses S. Grant: http://www.undyingfaces.com/Masks/Grant.jpg

            Hithwith Thitheth said:

    or George Bush

    George Bush is alive, idiot.


    Quote Comment
  19. 19
    Joe Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    George Bush is a live, idiot.

    Fixed


    Quote Comment
  20. 20
    George Carty Says:

            Matthew said:

    Well, if the Americans lovingly preserved and displayed the bodies of their dead presidents like pagan idols, he might be able to. Unlike the Soviets/Russians, they don’t.

    Was the embalming and display of Lenin’s body perhaps a jab against the Russian Orthodox Church?


    Quote Comment
  21. 21
    nobody Says:

    Hi, this pictures were taken from series of tv documents that showed how kremlin lab technicians were taking care of lenin’s body;

    there is a major lab under the mausoleum with number of kept “mummies” to keep experiment going;

    the lab technicians used one or two of the mummies (that you’ve already seen in the pics) to show a process of embalming.

    the lenin’s body wasn’t showed in the process. why? it could be command from the top or fear of offending those who still admires him.
    hope that helped.


    Quote Comment
  22. 22
    martakis17 Says:

    mnogo velik 4ovek s pravo go pazqt o6te


    Quote Comment
  23. 23
    EX-ALUNO MATA 11 EM ESCOLA E DEPOIS SE SUICIDA « Fórum Ateus do Brasil Says:

    [...] http://depletedcranium.com/comrade-lenin-gets-a-bath/ [...]


    Quote Comment
  24. 24
    Luis Milanese Says:

    Beautiful mausoleum. It looks big, rich, ostensible, while a big part of USSR’s population barely had its primal needs fulfilled. That’s communism, my friends.


    Quote Comment
  25. 25
    Trev Says:

    Bathing Lenin can’t be him. The hair is too high on his head, the hands are open, plus there are other incosistencies. It is probably a “test” corpse used to show the process.


    Quote Comment
  26. 26
    biffula Says:

    Not Lenin in the pics. Lenin was bald and has his right hand clenched. The body in the pics has hair and both hands extended. Nice try fooling the world rooskies, but just like communism = fail.


    Quote Comment
  27. 27
    Lamilton Taeshawn Says:

    the best kind of communist – a dead one!


    Quote Comment
  28. 28
    T. H. Gulyas Says:

    When it comes to the inconsistencies in the body claimed to be that of Lenin I’d like to clear up a few things. Though I can’t be sure it really is his body, I can say that there is still a possibility. First of all, the skin discolouration is no surprise for a body this old. Considering the fact that old Vlad only has to show his hands and head, its likely that the’re entirely covered in the wax and makeup used to make him look presentable. Take into account the people who describe him as looking like a “wax dummy”. Not an innacurate comment if you take the treatment into account. As for the posture, rigor mortis is only temperary. It typically wears off after 48-60 hours after death. Considering Lenin has been dead for about 771392 hours, any long term effects of rigor mortis are unlikely. Lastly, the hairline, beard, and head shape can all be explained by decomposition as well as the wax and makeup. Considering that he had some organs removed and did begin to putrefy some time before he was embalmed, the leader is bound to have some, shall we say, deflation going on. As has been explained, the skin may have been pulled back during this time seemingly causing hair growth. If they want him to look presentable, all of these problems can be solved with the same technique utelized by most teenage girls: slapping makeup on it. The shape of the head could have been built back up using wax.

    All in all, the likelyhood of this being the genuine boy of Lenin is not so far fetched.


    Quote Comment
  29. 29
    T. H. Gulyas Says:

            T. H. Gulyas said:

    When it comes to the inconsistencies in the body claimed to be that of Lenin I’d like to clear up a few things. Though I can’t be sure it really is his body, I can say that there is still a possibility. First of all, the skin discolouration is no surprise for a body this old. Considering the fact that old Vlad only has to show his hands and head, its likely that the’re entirely covered in the wax and makeup used to make him look presentable. Take into account the people who describe him as looking like a “wax dummy”. Not an innacurate comment if you take the treatment into account. As for the posture, rigor mortis is only temperary. It typically wears off after 48-60 hours after death. Considering Lenin has been dead for about 771392 hours, any long term effects of rigor mortis are unlikely. Lastly, the hairline, beard, and head shape can all be explained by decomposition as well as the wax and makeup. Considering that he had some organs removed and did begin to putrefy some time before he was embalmed, the leader is bound to have some, shall we say, deflation going on. As has been explained, the skin may have been pulled back during this time seemingly causing hair growth. If they want him to look presentable, all of these problems can be solved with the same technique utelized by most teenage girls: slapping makeup on it. The shape of the head could have been built back up using wax.

    All in all, the likelyhood of this being the genuine boy of Lenin is not so far fetched.

    Sorry about any spelling errors. I wrote this at 3:30 in the morning. I haven’t even been to sleep yet!


    Quote Comment
  30. 30
    Chrisso Says:

    Who posted the you tube video? It’s private and can’t be watched. For all the disbelievers, the movie was made by Therese Obrecht and filmed by Manu Leus. Named “Lenin’s Embalmers”. The film is about an hour long and shows Lenin being taken down from the mausoleum, lifted on small bed with wheels (1950′s), then wheeled to the room as shown in pics. They undress himalaya and lower him in the bath. They leave him there for about 6 hours. Pushing him under as he floats. Bubbles appear . All filmed with steady cam.. One shot.. More amazing are all the other bodies. From world war I up till now. Those bodies are for sale! For example a Bolsjewik soldier. Hundreds of bodies were experimented on before they started on Lenin. Most of those bodies are still M.I.A. and relatives are still looking for them. They also show what they did to Stalin. They stripped him from his uniform and stole the gold buttons. Put him in a wooden coffin with the bark still on and buried him and buried him behind the Kremlin. Witnessed by 4 or 5 people.. Want to know more? Make the full film available!!! Not private! The whole one your. Not the 10 – 15 minutes where they bathe Lenin!! The film and not the static slideshow!! Yes people it is real and strenge aswell. Bolsjewik soldier (1916) for sale. Some bodies have “reserved” written on them. Empty beds “sold”. The bodies are half upright in bed with 2 pillows in the back….


    Quote Comment
  31. 31
    Guy Says:

    I can’t believe the Russians still keep that garbage, it will make a nice target at the shooting range. Is there a picture or video of this piece of **** commie dirt-bag burning in hell. Now that’s something I would love to watch.


    Quote Comment
  32. 32
    Neil Anblomee Says:

    Do you really believe anyone in Russia would allow to record naked Vladimir Ilyich?

    It’s not Lenin’s body. I watched a documentary film these bath photos were taken from. That corpse is one of numerous corpses they use for testing purposes before “fixing” Lenin’s mummy every 18 months. They also keep separated heads of men and women for makeup artists. It’s pretty messed up.


    Quote Comment

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *

Please copy the string uZP3pt to the field below:

Protected by WP Anti Spam