Staunton, November 3 – A plethora of Russian politicians has begun speaking about burying Lenin, “practically unanimously and at the same time,” Ilya Milshteyn says, a reflection of the desire of these figures to attract attention by making statements that appear dramatic but that in fact won’t run afoul of the Kremlin.
The number of issues on which this is possible, the Moscow commentator says, is in fact quite limited. On most major questions, these politicians agree with one another, and thus they find it necessary to “imitate scandalous discussions.” For that, “Lenin and his posthumous fate are an ideal theme” (graniru.org/opinion/milshtein/m.265319.html).
Burying Lenin is just controversial enough to guarantee media attention without raising questions that the Kremlin will feel the need to intervene and decide. Consequently, the question of burying the founder of the Soviet state is something that can be counted on to arise during every electoral cycle – without necessarily leading to any resolution.
Further, this “issue” has the additional benefit of taking time away from any serious ones, including the evaluation of the revolution. And the Kremlin is grateful for that as well: it wants the appearance of controversy to attract interest in the election without any real controversy that might make the election interesting.
But there is yet another reason why this issue is useful: it allows Putin to gage how Russians will commemorate him when the time comes. If he decides it will be in his personal interest to remove Lenin from the mausoleum and bury him, that will happen instantly. If he decides otherwise, it won’t.