Monday, June 29, 2015

Moscow 2 - Lenin's Mausoleum

                 Lenin's portrait -  wall of metro station Biblioteka Lenina

The mausoleum  is situated in the Red Square, opposite the big, expensive GUM store. The father of communism in the same area with a symbol of capitalism !  Ironical. Across the mausoleum, people  at GUM (General Universal Magazine) are drinking coffee, licking ice-cream and... looking at the tomb of Lenin. A somewhat  weird scene.

Before entering  the mausoleum, you have to stand in a long queue; when you're in,  you start descending  narrow, black stairs you can hardly see because of the darkness around.  No handrail available. If it weren't for a japanese tourist couple who held me by my arms, perhaps I wouldn't have made it to the ground area.

Finally, a spot of light - it's Lenin. He looks quite well, like he is just asleep, with one fist clenched , the other open. The maintenance of his body is a combination of great art and science. Kudos to the russians for their skill and perseverence!

You are not allowed to take pictures or to stop; you have to keep moving  around the glass structure he's laid in, and then climb up and... out ( to the Kremlin wall necropolis where you pass by the graves of other prominent russian figures: Stalin, Brezhnev, Andropov, Gagarin...).
I felt an urge to raise my hand in a salute both outside the mausoleum and inside ,while watching his embalmed body. Great Man, a real statesman, one that had shaped russian and world history.

There have been debates on the possibility of his burrial, after 90 years of display.  My personal opinion is that they won't do it, they can't do it. It has become a major "attraction" to the world. Each year, millions of people come to see him. The Red Square will not be the same without him. A visit to Moscow is meaningless without a visit to the mausoleum. I suppose, he will eventually be buried when his body will no longer properly respond to the preserving procedures.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Moscow 1 - Avtozavodskaya metro station

The little hotel I stayed at in Moscow some ten days ago, was located in a nice neighborhood, near the metro station called Avtozavodskaya. The name rang a bell, but I thought it was because lots of russian words have the suffix ..'.skaya'.

The next day, however, I noticed on the inside wall of the station a granite plaque with names and a date on it - and it struck my memory. I remembered that in 2004 (precisely on 6 february, according to the commemorative plaque) a bomb had exploded in one of the metro train cars killing more than 40 passengers and wounding more than 120. Survivors had to walk a long distance through the dark tunnel to get rescued or to find a way out. How horrible!

                            entering  Avtozavodskaya metro station

I stood , for a while, in silence with my head bent, in recollection of those innocent people who were on their way to work, school, market, home - and never made it. They were the victims of a cruel, despicable act of terrorism.