The ambiguous heritage of the Soviet times the Mausoleum of V. I. Lenin solemnly rises in the Red Square at the background of the Kremlin's eastern walls and compositionally accomplishes the whole ensemble. And although in the last few years the suggestion of committing the body of the Leader of the Revolution to the ground is discussed with increasing frequency the monumental tombs still treasures a crystal sarcophagus with the embalmed body that attracts thousands of curious tourists and staunch communists.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin died on January 21, 1924. For people from all over the world could come and pay their last respect to the great man the mourning Plenary Session of the Central Committee decreed to construct a mausoleum in the Red Square and to put there the embalmed body of the deceased leader. The architectural contest was announced and won by talented architect Alexey Shchusev.
The temporary wooden Mausoleum was constructed during a few days. It was built in the shape of a cube crowned with a three-story pyramid. In a few months it was replaced by larger wooden mausoleum shaped as a stepped pyramid.
The present Mausoleum, also designed by Shchusev, was erected in 1930. A stone replica of the previous one it was a stepped pyramid of cubes faced with red granite, porphyry and black labrador. Above the bronze doors the simple inscription «Lenin» was made from red quartzite. Under the Soviets the Mausoleum also served as a platform, from which party officials made speeches on important Soviet holidays and greeted festive demonstrations and military parades.
The soviet scientists were entrusted with the extremely difficult task of preserving the image of great Bolsheviks leader for the future generations. They worked out the unique embalming technology and made special equipment that created all the conditions and controlled the level of lighting, temperature and humidity for the preserving of the corpse.
After Stalin's death in March 1953 his body was also embalmed and put in Mausoleum next to Lenin's, but soon afterwards on the order of Khrushchev Stalin's corpse was removed and buried by the Kremlin wall.
In the last decades the proposals to bury the remains of Lenin are frequently discussed in the society. In October 1993 the Guard of Honor that stood in front of the Mausoleum's doors since the first days of its existence was disbanded. Since 1991 all the procedures, connected with preserving Lenin's mummy, have been financed not from the State budget, but from the Fund of Lenin's Mausoleum and private donations.