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The mausoleum at Red Square, where the embalmed corpse of ex-Soviet
The mausoleum at Red Square, where the embalmed corpse of ex-Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin is housed, reopened on Tuesday after two-months of maintenance works.

Lenin's mausoleum, a major tourist attraction in the heart of Moscow, closes every 18 months for about six weeks to give Lenin a bath in a special embalming compound and a change of clothes.

Lenin's has been on public display in a glass case since his death in 1924, although his organs, including his brain, were removed during the autopsy. Regular checks are carried out of Lenin's body and Russian scientists say he could be preserved for a long time.

"We believe the body could be maintained for an indefinitely long period," said Professor Valery Bykov.

He explained that specialists who carry out the preservation work combine traditional and modern techniques.

"In the West only temporary embalmment is carried out, while we work at preserving the appearance," he said. "It's not about mummification, the task is more complicated."

One of the specialists looking after Lenin, Yury Denisov-Nikolsky, said that if the body "receives proper care it could remain in the mausoleum for another 100 years."

The reburial of Lenin, whose tomb is revered by Communists, has been the subject of a heated political debate in post-Soviet Russia. Some argue that Lenin should be buried, while others, primarily neo-Communists, have insisted that the mausoleum remain his final resting place.

President Vladimir Putin, unlike his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, has been cautious about the issue, fearing a split in society. During his eight-year reign as president, Putin reinstated many Soviet symbols, including the Red Star for the military and the Soviet national anthem, albeit with different lyrics.

In late February, the Russian tabloid Zhizn reported that Lenin may be buried at a new cemetery under construction in the Moscow Region.

The mausoleum is open every day expect Mondays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. It will close during the upcoming May 2-12 holidays.


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