Putin's future and Lenin's body
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Vladimir Putin's (fourth) presidential term will end in 2024, just a century after Lenin's burial on Red Square.  He seems to exclude new terms for him and his heir apparent Dimitri Medvedev.  The future power in Russia will be that of an anonymous nomenclature that unites the old and new tsars, together with Lenin and Stalin.




Moscow (AsiaNews) - Many in the country are wondering what the future of the long reign of "Tsar" Vladimir will be.  These questions increased after Putin's press conference on December 19 last.  Internationally, Putin's support for American President Trump, whose impeachment procedure was deemed by Putin as "a propaganda invention", made an impression.  But internally the debate is fueled by a couple of other responses that involve the future of Lenin's body and that of the "tsar".

The first question concerned the eternal question of the transfer of Lenin's body, from the mausoleum of the Red Square (photo 2) for possible burial, as desired by the leaders of the Orthodox Church.  Putin said he "did not consider it appropriate" to translate the "idolatrous mummy" of the prophet of the revolution, and added a reflection on Lenin's role in Russian memory.

Putin has often criticized Leninist politics, and this time he added that "Lenin was only a revolutionary, not a statesman".  His mistake was the politics of nationalities, inventing a "confederation in which the ethnic groups were administratively separated", creating the conditions for their future separation: "This generated a thousand problems, which was difficult to keep under control;  Stalin was against it, but he had to accept the Leninian formula ".  In his opinion, this is the cause of today's conflicts: “Purely Russian territories, like Donbass first and Crimea later, were given to Ukraine, only to increase the number of proletarians in that republic ... as soon as the party was dissolved, our country also dissolved "

According to the Russian president all the peoples should instead be united under "great Russia", as Stalin himself tried to do in his own way and whose figure is  exalted by the Putin ideology.  It is an attempt to try to "purify" the memory of the leader of October, keeping only his aura as head of the revolution, while imposing a new version of the classic "Russian idea". This "millennial heritage"  from the time of the Tsars is being realized today, without renouncing Soviet Stalinism, whose crimes and horrors Putin traced back to Lenin's mistakes, which made them "almost inevitable".

Lenin's body should therefore not be moved, in Putin's words, given the "nostalgia still present in the people", at least until his function in Russian history is correctly understood.

This emphasis is linked to Putin's second response to journalists (evidently not accidental) about his own future.  His current presidential term (the fourth) will end in 2024, just a century after Lenin's burial on Red Square, and the president said that "it would be better to lift the ban on going beyond the two consecutive terms from the Constitution", thus leaving the  absolute limit of the two mandates.

This statement has sparked many reactions and attempts at interpretation.  On the one hand, Putin seems to sanction the end of his long domination over Russian politics, excluding his future candidatures, even after a new "pause" with a transitional mandate for his heir Medvedev.  On the other hand, one wonders if Medvedev himself (assuming he is the successor) can have two more terms, having already passed one from 2008 to 2012, with Putin as prime minister;  and in any case it would not be possible for anyone to remain in power for a quarter of a century, like the current leader.

The fact remains that nobody believes  Putin will really step aside in 2024. In all likelihood he will take on some other function of high level control, such as the presidency of the Security Council.  Certainly the popular consensus will no longer be exalted, which has been declining for some years, also due to the difficult economic conditions of the country.  The future of Russia appears increasingly "Soviet", entrusted to an anonymous nomenclature, leaving the cult of Lenin and Stalin and the ancient Tsars, but with a new claim of "universal unity" of the Russian people, who want to be a protagonist on the international scene.