Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev warned the Kremlin against quickly burying the embalmed body of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, saying the nation isn't ready yet, a news agency reported Tuesday.
Gorbachev said Lenin's body should be laid to rest at a proper moment that "has not come yet," the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
In what appeared to be an attempt by the Kremlin to gauge public reaction to the divisive issue, Georgy Poltavchenko, a regional envoy of President Vladimir Putin, said last month that Lenin's body should be taken from its Red Square tomb and buried in a cemetery along with the remains of other Bolshevik dignitaries.
Several senior lawmakers in the Kremlin-controlled parliament followed up on his call, proposing to quickly bury Lenin's body. Russian Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov warned last week that his party would stage a massive civil disobedience action if authorities try to bury Lenin's body.
Putin said in 2001 that he opposed the removal of Lenin's body from its marble tomb so as not to disturb civil peace in the country. His predecessor as president, Boris Yeltsin, strongly pushed for removing Lenin's body, but was stopped by vigorous opposition from the Communist Party and others, reports the AP. I.L.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated