Kirsan Ilyumzhinov offers US$1 million to move Lenin's body

It's not exactly Red Square, but if the millionaire head of a poor Russian region had his way, Vladimir Lenin's body would be lying in his provincial capital.

With debate beginning anew about what, if anything, to do with the mummified corpse of the founder of the Soviet Union, Kalmykia President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is offering US$1 million („џ820,000) if Lenin is allowed to lie in Elista.

He told a news conference in Moscow Friday that he has spoken with Communist leaders about the money, which would go toward building a new mausoleum in Elista, about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) south of Moscow.

Ilyumzhinov, who has made a name for himself heading chess' world governing body, suppressing local political opposition and claiming that he has communicated with aliens, noted proudly that the city still had many statues of the Bolshevik leaders.

The Bolshevik revolutionary himself wanted to be buried in St. Petersburg next to his mother. His successor, Josef Stalin, instead put him on display in the shadow of the Kremlin. Communists do not want him moved from Red Square, AP reports.

A. A.