Welcome!

Dear Readers:

Welcome to Awful Avalanche, here is my blog concept and what I do:

I scan online newspapers from Russian-language press, in search of interesting stories and political topics.  These are stories which Russians themselves are reading and commenting upon.

I translate or at least summarize into English the content therein.

My target audience:  Russophiles, or anybody else who is interested.

I pick stories and analysis which interest me, generally from the following categories (this might evolve):

  • Breaking News,
  • Celebrity Gossip
  • True Crime,
  • Cat Fighting,
  • Human Interest Stories,
  • maybe even some Cute Animal Stories too!

Sincerely yours,

yalensis

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“Always Alive” — How And Why Lenin was Mummified – Part IV

Dear Readers:

Continuing to work through this  piece from Life News  by Evgeny Antoniuk.  Whom, by the way, I mistakenly called a “reporter” yesterday — he is actually a historian.

Should we clone Lenin?

Where we left off, a minority of the Bolshevik leaders — Antoniuk points to Stalin and Leonid Krasin as the main forces here — had taken that first step down that slippery slope.  Namely, from a temporary treatment of Lenin’s corpse — a measure necessary to accommodate all those who wished to attend the funeral, and those arriving later but still wanting to view the body — to the heretical notion that the corpse should be preserved indefinitely.  Turned into an object of raw religious pilgrimage.  In a land where the state religion was Atheism.  We learned about Krasin’s visionary friend Alexander Bogdanov, who had a a Frankenstein-like interest in preserving corpses.  All part of his pseudo-scientific experiments in learning the secret of eternal youth.  The practical result, as I pointed out, and which does not even sound so far-fetched nowadays, is that we still possess (probably) some of Lenin’s DNA.  Bogdanov, had he lived to see our era, would be impressed by our modern experiments in cloning.  The idea of cloning Lenin from his DNA is actually a realistic one in our time, but it is highly dubious the current Russian government would permit such an interesting experiment.

Lenin as a schoolboy

Imagine, though, if it happened:  What would the new baby Lenin grow into?  It goes without saying that he would be raised in a different family, by different parents.  If he received a good education, one can imagine that, with his high IQ, he would do well in school.  He might be attracted to a career in law or politics, something that would exercise his keen mind and love of debate.  But his political views might end up being completely different from the prototype’s, depending on his life experiences and the people he met.  Like I said, it would be an interesting experiment in the eternal “nature vs nurture” conundrum.

Leaving those speculations aside and returning to the main theme:  What was the key reason for preserving Lenin’s mortal remains?  The official version presented was this:  The Party had to heed the numerous requests of the proletarians who wanted to see the body.  Antoniuk scoffs at this:  There were no such requests proceeding from the working class.  In 1924 Soviet Russia was an overwhelmingly Christian nation.  Even the custom of cremation was virtually unknown in Russia, and continued to be regarded as alien.  Despite vigorous efforts of the Soviet government to inculcate the practice, as a highly practical way of disposing of corpses.  On the other hand, the practice of embalming was also not common in Russia.  Overwhelmingly, the Orthodox Christian people of Russia placed their dead in the ground.  That was how it was done.

When you get to be “Dear Leader”, everybody has to laugh at your jokes.

Antoniuk concludes that this decision to preserve Lenin’s body was made by the top leaders of the Party.  And once again, most fingers point to Stalin.  During repeated debates on this issue, a debate which began even before Lenin’s death, it got to the point where opponents of the new clilque were openly bullied, e.g., “And why does this comrade speak out against preserving the body of our beloved leader?”  “And why does this so-called comrade seek to destroy the body of our beloved Lenin?”  “Perhaps you are not a true Marxist-Leninist after all?”  In other words, already by 1923 Soviet Russia, formerly an enlightened European nation, was turning into North Korea, with its “Dear Leader” and its cult of the dead.  [Please forgive the a-historical comparison, which is mine, and not Antoniuk’s.]

The Widow’s Appeal

Eventually all the Party leaders caved into the peer pressure, with the exception of Lenin’s widow Nadezhda Krupskaya.  Krupskaya wrote a tearful letter addressed to the Politburo:  “I have a huge request of you.  Please do not allow your grief for Ilyich to turn into some kind of cult of his personality.  Please do not build monuments to him, do not name palaces after him, do not organize extravagant ceremonies in his memory, etc.  In his life he placed very little meaning to any of that, and all of this would burden him if he knew.”

Nadezhda Krupskaya

Krupskaya, like Lenin himself, was a European-style Marxist intellectual, to whom such Asiatic rituals and cult-worship seemed repulsive and indisputably barbaric.

Born in 1869 to an aristocratic, but impoverished, Russian military family, Nadezhda was given a very good education, but had to make her own living as a governess and tutor.  Adopting the point of view of the working class, the young woman adopted the socialist ideology when she was introduced to the writings of Karl Marx.

Now in her mid-20’s Nadezhda met Vladimir Lenin in 1894, at a Marxist discussion circle.  There are indications, in both biographies, and in their correspondence, that the couple were just good friends who appreciated each other as companions, but were not amorously attracted to one another.  Their marriage may well have been a “fake” one, just a device for Nadezhda to be able to accompany Lenin to his exile in Siberia.  Corroboration for this notion lies in the pages of a book which many Russian revolutionaries of that era regarded as a Holy Bible.  Namely, Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s novel “What is To Be Done?”  A work of fiction promoting the idea of women’s equality and place in the workforce.  Also the completely revolutionary (and shocking) idea of free love.  Although, in his attempt to thwart the censor, Chernyshevsky is a bit cagey about this aspect, his novel basically promotes the idea of wife-swapping.  A key plot point of the novel is the hero’s fake marriage to the heroine, Vera Pavlovna.  His altruistic purpose being to free Vera from her intolerable home life.  So that all the comrades, male and female, can live in relative comfort and work together to promote the revolutionary cause.

Lenin’s appreciation for Chernyshevsky’s book is very well documented.  In fact, he was so dogmatic on this point, that at one time he threatened to expel any comrade from the Party who had the gall to scoff at Chernyshevsky’s masterpiece!

Vera Pavlovna in her sewing circle.

As an interesting aside:  Despite the fact that Westie “literary critics” universally mock Chernyshevsky’s book, it has continued to be popular in niche circles.  I was recently intrigued to discover that, along with other popular literary characters such as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Vera Pavlovna and her crew enjoy an afterlife in the world of fan fiction — and in English, no less!  For example, in one fan-written story, Vera — now a famous medical doctor practicing in St. Petersburg — treats a series of women with gastric problems.  Vera deduces that they are wearing too-tight corsets.  Employing her former skills as a seamstress, Vera invents a better type of corset, which alleviates the suffering of her patients!

Krupskaya organized Women’s movements.

Quite a beauty in her youth, with that Slavic pouty mouth, Krupskaya’s physical appearance quickly deteriorated with age.  According to her wiki page, it is believed that she suffered from Grave’s Disease, which affects the thyroid.  This might explain the bulgy eyes and the weight gain.  By the time of her husband’s death Nadezhda looked much older than her 55 years.  She looked like a frumpy old lady with saggy breasts.  Despite her devotion to the Party, and all the work she had put into organizing ancillary movements, such as the Women’s Auxiliary, the Komsomol Youth and the Pioneers,  Krupskaya was no longer treated with respect by members of the Politburo.  To them she had become just another annoying “babushka”.  Hence, her pleas against turning her husband’s corpse into a religious relic, went unheeded.  Nonetheless Nikolai Bukharin, one of the members of the leading Triumvirate that was developing (Stalin-Trotsky-Bukharin) was dispatched to meet with Krupskaya and try to put her mind at ease.  Bukharin lied to the widow, in modern jargon “mansplaining” to her that the preservation of Lenin’s body was just a temporary measure.  Just for the next month or so, scout’s honor, Nadya.  In reality, Party leaders were already trying to figure out a better technology to preserve the corpse indefinitely.

[to be continued]

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“Always Alive” — How And Why Lenin was Mummified – Part III

Dear Readers:

Once more continuing this  piece from Life News  by reporter Evgeny Antoniuk, about the death and mummification of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.

Recall that when Lenin died, the debate among the Bolshevik leaders around the issue of preserving his body, more or less resolved itself.  As funeral arrangements were made and delegates took several days to arrive in Moscow, physical reality itself forced the issue.  The Bolsheviks were adherents of the Marxist-Hegelian “Materialistic” philosophy, which can be summed up in the words “Reality Bites”.  Atheistic materialists do not believe that dead bodies come back to life, as the Bible says, “Incorruptible”.  Nor, unlike Alyosha Karamazov in regard to his mentor, Father Zosima, did they expect the corpse of their departed leader to smell like a rose.  Recall that when Father Zosima’s corpse started to get a bit ripe, this reality sent the emotionally fragile Alyosha into a tailspin of religious doubt.  Bolsheviks, on the other hand, being made of a “tougher stuff”, as Comrade Stalin noted in his funeral oration, did not require that God send them a signal from beyond the grave, that Lenin had maintained the correct line all along, in that endless series of factional struggles.  One can be considered a great political leader, but still die, and start to decay.

Father Zosima: Not quite dead yet.

Hence, Bolshevik leadership ordered Lenin’s body to be temporarily embalmed by one of his own treating physicians, Professor Alexei Ivanovich Abrikosov.  Abrikosov (1875-1955) was nothing like a mortician.  He was a renowned research pathologist specializing in tuberculosis and tumors.  Professor Abrikosov has a tumor named after him; and he also sired Alexei Alexeyevich Abrikosov, a scholar who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2003.  In other words, embalming a body was something well below this guy’s pay grade.  But the Bolshevik leaders needed a man whom they could trust to keep everything confidential.  Implored to embalm Lenin’s body, Abrikosov rigged something up with balsam that was only supposed to be temporary.  The plan still was to put Lenin’s body into the ground as soon as all the delegates had gone home.

Despite his “seat of the pants” effort, Abrikosov’s amateur mortician work was surprisingly enduring.  And was helped by the unusually cold Moscow winter.  Due to this, Lenin’s body remained in good enough shape to stay on display right up until spring.  When the warm weather arrived, Lenin’s body began to decay, to the extent that it could no longer be kept on display.

And this is where the “slippery slope” turned into a medievalist landslide:  Instead of finally burying the body, Bolshevik leaders started to think of ways to preserve the body still longer, and longer.  It was as if they had no confidence in their own abilities to lead the country, without Lenin’s corpse always looking over their shoulders and giving them sound advice.

Antoniuk is not sure exactly who should be blamed for making the decision, at that fateful turning point, to “keep on going” with the body-preservation thing.  He thinks it was either Stalin’s decision; or perhaps Krasin’s.  Leonid Krasin  (1870-1926) was an Old Bolshevik, whose name we don’t hear so much; but he was a member of the Bolshevik Central Committee in 1903.  In his wild youth, Krasin, along with Stalin, was alleged to have robbed banks in Tbilisi, in order to raise money for the party.  Krasin, an engineer and explosives expert, was also alleged to be the man who helped rig up the bombs used against Russian Prime Minister Stolypin.  Due to this, the adventure-seeking Krasin either left the Party voluntarily or was expelled, depending on whose version you believe.

Leonid Krasin

Lenin himself did not tolerate anarchists or  “individual terrorists” in the ranks of the Party.  In other words, types (like Lenin’s own brother, Alexander Ulyanov) who attempted to assassinate prominent individuals.  It wasn’t that Lenin thought that killing, say, a Stolypin, was morally wrong.  He just thought it was a stupid waste of effort, that should be spent organizing the masses.   In other words, you kill one guy, another guy takes his place.  The only real change comes about, not through pointless violence against select individuals, but through mass education and mass action aimed at toppling the entire system.  When Alexander was hanged for his crime, Lenin, who still adored his brother, made a vow to achieve the same results which his brother had strived for, and yet using a different method.  Lenin’s famous words, as poeticized by Vladimir Mayakovsky, were:

Брат,
       мы здесь
               тебя сменить готовы,
победим,
        но мы пойдём путём другим

(“Brother, we here are ready to replace you, and we will win, but we will take a different path.”)

Long story short:  Due to his unorthodox and violent activities, Krasin left the Party.  In 1908 he emigrated from Russia, temporarily abandoned politics altogether, became a successful businessman and millionaire.  It was only after the February Revolution of 1917 that Krasin returned to Russia and rejoined the Bolsheviks.  One cynically wonders if his millions had something to do with his being accepted back so readily into the fold.  In any case, he was appointed People’s Commissar of Foreign Trade from 1920 to 1924.

They Saved Lenin’s DNA

Krasin’s wiki page mentions some intriguing facts about this man’s obsession with death and immortalization.  Krasin was a believer that “the time will come when science will become all-powerful, that it will be able to recreate a deceased organism. I am certain that the time will come when one will be able to use the elements of a person’s life to recreate the physical person.”  In other words, Krasin may have had a sci-fi type motive in preserving Lenin’s body.  In the hope that future scientists could find a way to bring it back to life.  And this does not even sound as bizarre today as it would have at the time.  Consider that in our era we actually do have the technology to clone Lenin from pieces of his DNA.  Of course, the new Lenin would not have the history nor the memories of his antecedent, and that is probably not what Krasin had in mind.  He was probably thinking more along the lines, of say, Frankenstein’s monster.

Krasin was very good friends with another Old Bolshevik named Alexander Bogdanov, a medical doctor and science fiction writer.  The early Bolsheviks were quite a crew of intellectuals.  These were truly interesting men, and quite visionary for their time, and not just in the political realm.  Bogdanov experimented with the theory of “rejuvenation” via blood transfusions.  This sounds creepy, and it was.  But Bogdanov was not the first man who ever dreamed of finding the secret of eternal youth.  And unlike Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, who sought youth in a magical painting, Bogdanov took a more practical approach:  He recruited members of the Communist Youth to provide him with blood samples.  Which he then infused into his own veins, in the hope that it would make him grow younger every day.  Instead he died, in 1928, apparently from a blood transfusion gone terribly wrong.

Bogdanov sought the secret of eternal youth.

And again, to modern ears none of this sounds nearly as ridiculous as it would have, to the people of that time.  It’s true that we have still not (in our era) solved the problem of aging; and we know better than to think simple blood transfusions will do the trick.  But modern scientists know about DNA and stem cells and that sort of thing, which people of that time didn’t know, and it’s not completely far-fetched to imagine that a Bogdanov, or a Lenin, can be re-cloned in the not-too-distant future.  The only real question is:  Would the current Russian government even want them back?  Or would they, like Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor, have them locked up the moment they re-appeared in society?

As Antoniuk surmises, Stalin and Krasin came together and, for two completely different reasons, plotted to preserve Lenin’s body well beyond its normal shelf life.  Krasin’s motive was something born of Mary Shelley’s feverish imagination.  Whereas Stalin’s motive was more down to earth:  To build the “Lenin Cult”, which, through clever sleight-of-hand, he would later transmogrify into a cult of himself.  The thought was this:  Lenin’s body on display had proved to be such a hit, that they wanted to continue the show indefinitely.  Communist Pilgrims from all over the world would come to view the sacred relics.  And who would be there to greet these pilgrims?  The designated successor, of course — Joseph Stalin!

[to be continued]

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“Always Alive” — How And Why Lenin was Mummified – Part II

Dear Readers:

Today continuing this  piece from Life News  by reporter Evgeny Antoniuk, about the death and mummification of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.  Full disclosure:  I have never personally understood the need to see bodies after death.  Some years ago I attended the wake of a dear friend who had died in a car accident.  Viewing her body just lying there in the coffin was very upsetting to me.  I didn’t feel a sense of closure at all, just more sadness and the horror of death.  In other words, I don’t get it.  And neither did that group of Old Bolsheviks in the Politburo who opposed the idea of preserving Lenin’s body.  Perhaps this is the normal reaction of people who don’t believe in the afterlife.  But atheists like us, admittedly, are in the minority among humankind.

Egyptian God Sutekh prepares a mummy.

Because apparently this is some universal human need.  Every culture has customs, sometimes elaborate and bizarre, in regard to Death and dead bodies.  Along with graveyards, monuments, mausoleums, and so on.  Catholics are famous for their worship of bones and relics.  In many “primitive” cultures, it is the job of the women to clean and prepare bodies for burial.  In other cultures death is a “vibrant” business, pun intended.  For example, the funeral business in America, and all its various technologies to embalm and preserve bodies.  The “practical” reason being, of course, to keep the body in sufficient shape to last through the wake and funeral.  Which might take several days.  After which, normally, the body is either placed in the earth or burned, and then preservation is not an issue any more.  Unless you happen to be an ancient Egyptian.

Lenin in 1920 addressing a crowd of constituents.

Yesterday we discussed how the Old Bolsheviks, with the exception of Stalin, wanted to just put Lenin in the ground and be done with it.  It is what Lenin’s wife wanted too, not to mention Lenin’s own wishes.  If he had been allowed to write his own Living Will.  But, alas, there were people and forces out there, in this vast country, which had very different ideas and customs.  The debate over Lenin’s imminent death was maybe the first real sign that the Communist intellectuals of European Russia were starting to lose their grip on Russian society; and that Stalin had a better grasp of how to take the reins of this wild horse.  Citing the “provincial comrades” who needed several travel days to make it to the funeral, Stalin won the first step in the debate.  Namely, that the body would be “preserved” in some fashion.  And after that it was all, well, just, slippery slope from there to our present state.  Where Lenin’s body remains in the care of a new “regime” whose leaders despise his very existence and attempt to cover over his mausoleum during public holidays.

The Mausoleum

The very next day after Lenin died, the architect Alexey Shchusev was summoned to the Kremlin and commissioned to build a temporary wooden mausoleum to house Lenin’s body.  Shchusev has an interesting biography.  The new Soviet leaders were certainly very lucky to acquire the talents of this brilliant artist, who could have just as easily become an emigre.  Born in 1873 Shchusev enjoyed a successful career long before the Russian Revolution was even a gleam in anybody’s eye.  An expert on Old Russian art, Shchusev also studied the art and architecture of many cultures, include Central Asia and North Africa.  His particular talent was to design modern structures which fit seamlessly with structures of an older style.  For example, in 1908 he designed the “Martha-Mary Convent” in Moscow, which fits in beautifully with the medieval Novgorod style.  Always a vibrant mind ready to try out new ideas, Shchusev experimented with different trends such as Art Nouveau, neo-Classicism, and eventually Soviet-era Constructivism.  For the design of Lenin’s tomb, he combined Constructivist elements with, as the wiki page notes, elements of the Egyptian Step Pyramid and the Tomb of Cyrus.  The result was a brilliant, if morbid, structure which blends in perfectly with the existing architecture of Red Square.

Recall that Lenin died on 21 January 1924.  Less than a week later, Shchusev had the mausoleum built.  Granted, not the permanent one that we see today, built of marble and granite; but its wooden prototype.  Lenin’s funeral on 27 January was attended by all the leaders of the Party except for Leon Trotsky.  Trotsky at the time was #2 in the Party hierarchy, just behind Stalin, the General-Secretary.  As Antoniuk notes, the crafty Stalin scored a major point against his rival, Trotsky.  The latter was quite ill himself, at the time, and had gone to the Caucasus for medical treatment.  (Which, in those days, might have just consisted of taking the mineral baths, or something like that.)  Stalin, who managed the day-to-day affairs, logistics and schedules for the Party, made sure that Trotsky got wrong information about the date of Lenin’s funeral.  As a result, Trotsky missed this hugely important event!  A fact which was later used against him in the ensuing power struggle.  Trotsky should have been there, along with the other Politburo members, carrying the coffin to its resting site on their own shoulders.  But he wasn’t there; and evil tongues were able to whisper that, “Well, Trotsky and Lenin never really got along, anyhow…”  This was the beginning of the meme that Trotsky had always been just an outsider among the real Bolsheviks, and that Lenin never liked him.

After the carrying of the coffin, came the speeches.  Party leaders, many of them known for their public speaking skills, tried to out-do each other.  Again if Trotsky had been there, and the man was known for being a virtuoso of an orator, he no doubt would have delivered a corker of a speech.  But he wasn’t there, and the Oscar went to Stalin.  Stalin’s speech was amazing, and he came up with the brilliant idea of the “Lenin Oath”.  I found this English translation of Stalin’s funeral oration.  Stalin punctuates each moving and emotional passage of his speech with the words “We vow to you, Comrade Lenin, that we will continue to….!”

Stalin ended his speech with this stirring passage:

You have seen during the past few days the pilgrimage of scores and hundreds of thousands of working people to Comrade Lenin’s bier. Before long you will see the pilgrimage of representatives of millions of working people to Comrade Lenin’s tomb. You need not doubt that the representatives of millions will be followed by representatives of scores and hundreds of millions from all parts of the earth, who will come to testify that Lenin was the leader not only of the Russian proletariat, not only of the European workers, not only of the colonial East, but of all the working people of the globe.

DEPARTING FROM US, COMRADE LENIN ENJOINED US TO REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL. WE VOW TO YOU, COMRADE LENIN, THAT WE SHALL NOT SPARE OUR LIVES TO STRENGTHEN AND EXTEND THE UNION OF THE WORKING PEOPLE OF THE WHOLE WORLD — THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL!

Ignoring for a moment that less than one year later, Stalin would abandon the notion of global revolution, castrate the Comintern, and adopt the official state policy of “Socialism in One Country”, this conclusion of Stalin’s speech alludes to the practical reason why Party leaders continued to preserve Lenin’s body.  Because of those “scores and hundreds of millions” of people who still needed the opportunity to view the remains of the great proletarian leader.  And for this purpose, balsam was needed.  Lots of balsam.

[to be continued]

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“Always Alive” — How And Why Lenin was Mummified – Part I

Dear Readers:

I found this interesting piece in Life News about a rather morbid topic – the mummification of V.I. Lenin.  The author is a man named Evgeny Antoniuk.  Here is a summary of his piece, including some of my own commentary.

Lenin was the leader of all the proletarians of the world, not just Russians.

On 21 January 1924 Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, after a prolonged illness, died.  Lenin was not just the leader of the ruling Bolshevik Party and first Soviet head of state.  He was also the leader of the world proletariat, as a self-conscious class.  Due to this role, the last couple of years in which he clung to existence, Lenin’s life, and even his own body, did not truly belong to him any more.  When he died, forces external to his own family decided not to bury Lenin, at least not right away.  Instead, his body was to be placed on exhibit, so that the proletarians of the Soviet Union, and even foreign countries, would have a chance to say good-bye to their departed political leader.

Lenin himself never asked for such veneration; in fact, it is generally accepted that he would have been horrified.  Lenin’s wife was also adamantly opposed to this display of her husband’s body.  As were the majority of other Bolshevik Party leaders.  Nonetheless, despite all of this opposition, Lenin in death was subjected to this treatment.  His body was mummified and placed in a specially built mausoleum.

May Day 1952: Stalin stands on Lenin’s Mausoleum.

Antoniuk points the finger at Stalin.  Even when Lenin was still alive, but already dysfunctional (autumn of 1923), and it was crystal clear that he would die soon, Stalin brought to the discussion of the Politburo, what should be done about Lenin’s body.  This sounds impolite, of course, but connoisseurs of Soviet history know that the factional struggle within the Bolshevik Party was already heating up:  The succession war (a type of proletarian Game of Thrones) was underway, and it wasn’t just Stalin vs. Trotsky, there were a lot of players in this game.  You had a very opinionated group of know-it-all intellectuals, each one of whom thought that he should be Lenin’s successor.  In any case, Lenin’s mortal coil, even before he shuffled it off, was just another card in the deck of this game.  On the surface, the struggle was over who controls Lenin’s political legacy.  Just one layer below the surface, there were many other even bigger issues at stake.  Issues of war and peace, domestic reforms, and the direction the country should take after Lenin’s death.

So, Stalin’s notion, which he proposed to the Politburo, was to NOT bury Lenin in the normal manner, but instead to preserve his body for future generations to see.  Stalin backed his argument by citing requests from provincial comrades.  “Provincial” meaning some very “Asiatic” and even “backward” parts of this vast country.

Lenin’s funeral

Stalin’s proposal horrified the Old Bolsheviks.  One has to recall that these people were, on the whole, a highly educated and elite group of European intellectuals.  They were cosmopolitans, many of them Jews, Marxists, atheists, they did not believe in God or an afterlife.  As materialists, they believed that we ARE our bodies; when the body dies, the person is gone.  The notion of going all “oriental” and setting up some new cult of the dead — was simply abhorrent to them.  Lenin himself would have never wanted this, he sneeringly referred to religion and all cults as a type of “worshipping of the dead”.  Lenin’s wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, was also opposed to the idea of embalming, and one would think that her wishes would prevail.  A majority of Politburo members also spoke out against Stalin’s idea – influential men such as  Kamenev, Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Bukharin.  They called Stalin’s plan “barbaric madness” and compared it to the Catholic worship of relics.

The funeral was not a private family affair.

His proposal shot down by the majority of his comrades, and this was at a time when the rules of “democratic-centralism” still prevailed in the Politburo and Central Committee of the Party — namely, people debated, shouted, screamed, voted, and then shut up and abided by majority decision — Stalin temporarily dropped his idea of embalming Lenin.  Only to bring it up again later, when Lenin actually passed away.  Immediately a State Commission was created, whose job it was to organize the funeral.  Felix Dzerzhinsky who also happened to be an ally of Stalin’s faction, was put in charge of the arrangements.  And this time Stalin prevailed, with logistics and certain geographical realities being on his side.

Lenin’s funeral was to be attended by delegations from all corners of the Soviet Union; and by delegations from foreign Communist Parties.  Air travel was not always an option.  For some of these delegations, it might take days, and even weeks, to reach the capital.  Once again, the views of these “provincial comrades”, who looked to Stalin as their new leader, needed to be taken into account.  And once again the issue arose, how to preserve the body long enough for everybody who wanted to, to see Lenin one more time and say good-bye.

[to be continued]

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Trump Kompromat Dossier – Part IV

Dear Readers:

So today I finish up my series on the Trump-Russia scandal, timed very neatly to complete this morning, just a few hours before Trump steps up to the plate to take the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts.  My source today is this Evgeny Krutikov analysis from the Russian VZGLIAD newspaper.  As I mentioned before, Krutikov is an ex-spy himself, and he writes with knowledge of how Russian intelligence services work.

MI-6 Director Alex Younger

As usual, Krutikov has his own slant on the matter.  He comes at the story from a different angle:  Is it actually possible, he asks, that British MI-6 succeeded in recruiting highly-placed Russian government officials?  Because this is what is claimed in the so-called Trump Kompromat Dossier.

Krutikov begins with the fact that, although most sensate people dismiss the Dossier as a fake, it was in fact endowed with a quantum of mass after being presented to the public and in effect endorsed by MI-6 Director Alex Younger, acting in this capacity like a larger version of the Higgs-Boson particle.

Some patriotic Russians might take pleasure in the belief that their government successfully blackmailed and recruited the incoming President of the United States.  The flip side is this:  If they believe this story is true, then they must also believe that the British secret services managed to approach and recruit at a minimum five highly placed Russian officials.  And this, Krutikov insists, is a more important point than the sensationalist pornographic elements of the story.

Legendary reporter Carl Bernstein

Specifically, the Trump Dossier mentions that a former MI-6 operative obtained access to “five sources within the Russian government and administration of the President.”  This version of events was laid out on CNN by veteran American reporter Carl Bernstein.  According to Bernstein, whose integrity as a reporter cannot be disputed, this former MI-6 operative is the secret source of all of this.  This man is assumed to be roughly around the same age as Bernstein.  This man, let’s call him Mr. Bond, has extensive knowledge of Russia and the former Soviet Union.  We can assume that Mr. Bond (if this man indeed exists) was pensioned off and put out to pasture by Her Majesty’s government, yet managed to eke out an additional crust working as a consultant for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Krutikov refutes the notion that Mr. Bond can be the secret source of such a Dossier.  One needs to keep in mind that the British secret services are fairly brutal about forcing their agents to retire after they reach a certain age; and that they also got rid of a lot of Russia experts after the end of the Cold War.  Imagine a lonely old spy, tossed out as dead wood, managing to bag a new job in Hillary HQ, thrilled to be back in the workforce and able to continue pursuing his lifelong quest of destroying Russia.  Krutikov concludes that the notion of a pensioner such as the aging Mr. Bond, acquiring access to Russian government officials, is nonsense.  The moment he was forced to retire, he would have instantaneously lost his access to all “Most Secret” documents.  The only type of spy who could possibly “get to” Russian officials, would have to be an active MI-6 operative at a very high level

George Lazenby, the greatest Bond of them all!

Which leads us to another former MI-6 agent named Christopher Steele.  Chris is a youngster in comparison to Mr. Bond — only 52 years old.  Practically a baby.  In the Wild 90’s Steele worked in the British Embassy in Moscow.  After the recent scandal broke out, Mr. Steele fled in terror from his home in Surrey, and is now in deep cover.  Is he the guy?  No.  Krutikov implies that Steele was just the patsy who was said to leak the dossier, in order to conceal the identify of the actual leaker.  Playing this role of “front man”, just like Steele’s namesake, Remington Steele, pretended to be the shamus, in order to conceal the fact that the real mastermind was just a slip of a girl!

The Front Man, Mr. Steele

To solve this puzzle, Krutikov employs the standard approach that all spy agencies use.  Long ago, spy directors learned that it was fruitless to analyze personalities, as in “Is Bob really capable of betraying his country?”  Instead, they use a more abstract analytical approach.  “Did Bob have physical access to this information?”  In the World of Mirrors, everybody is a potential traitor.  One proceeds like Sherlock Holmes, who invented the method of “ruling out” suspects, one at a time, until the only one remaining, however far-fetched it might seem, MUST be the guy.

According to Krutikov, this puzzle is approached by analyzing the actual data, i.e., the shenanigans going on in the Ritz hotel.  And then try to figure out WHO, and under what circumstances, had access to this information.  The circle of suspects is a wide one:  Anybody who worked at the Ritz.

An Alphabet Soup Of Suspects

The Dossier lists 7 sources, designated by the letters A,B,C,D,E,F,G.

A:  “A veteran figure in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”  States that the Russians have been working Trump over for the past 5 years.  Russians, like most Asiatic peoples, know how to play the “long game”.  The odds of Trump actually ascending to the Presidency were a million to one.  But you never know, so you hedge all bets.  It goes without saying that if Mr. A did indeed reveal such a deep plan to the MI-6 agent, then he is a traitor to the Russian state, of a calibre rarely seen since the days of Prince Kurbsky.

B:  “A former highly-placed colleague in the Russian secret services.”  Also confirms the 5-year long-game thing.  Trump’s shenanigans in the hotel came as a pleasant surprise and added bonus.  Claims that Putin personally ordered Operation Trump.  Claims they had also compiled extensive Kompromat Dossier on Hillary Clinton.  Again, Russians hedging their bets.

Which one of these spies is the double agent?

C:  “A senior Russian official in the sphere of Finances.  Was said to be the “intellectual” of the Trump Project team.

D:  “A former Trump counselor, who organized Trump’s trip to Moscow.”  Russian secret services regard this source as “very helpful”.  In order for preferential treatment in several important business deals.  From the context of the Dossier, it appears that D personally witnessed, or possibly even participated in, the shenanigans in the Ritz, including the unsanitary activities of the hotel prostitutes.

E:  “A member of the hotel management.”  Could also play a double role:  During the day, he manages the hotel.  By night he works for the FSB.

F:  “A female member of the hotel staff.”  Her role in the Dossier is to corroborate D’s story.  She is thought to be a cleaning maid who doubles as a hooker.

G:  “A senior official of the Kremlin.”  G also confirms that a similar Dossier was being compiled against Hillary Clinton.  Hence, it follows from this, that no matter which candidate was elected President, either way Putin would have all their nuts in his grip.

The traitor Prince Kurbsky was forced to flee from Russia.

And to reiterate Krutikov’s main point in this piece:  He looks at this list of ABCDEFG and concludes that five of these seven (A,B,C, G and possibly also E) are Russian government or security services officials.  And somehow the MI-6 source, be it Mr. Bond or Mr. Steele, or Whoever, was able to obtain access, sit down with all of these people, debrief them and get the inside scoop?

Krutikov is sceptical that any of this story is actually true.  But if it were, what does it say about the presence of such egregious traitors within the Russian government and establishment?

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Trump Kompromat Dossier – Part III

Dear Readers, Boys and Girls, here is our Civics Lesson for today:

Each new Muggle Prime Minister receives a visit from the Minister for Magic, who informs him or her that the wizarding world exists. He explains that he will contact the Prime Minister only in circumstances in which the events of the wizard world may affect Muggles. For example, the Minister has to inform the Prime Minister if dangerous magical artefacts or animals are to be brought into Britain.  The Ministry keeps in touch with the British Prime Minister via a wizard’s portrait in the Prime Minister’s office at 10 Downing Street.

Rufus Scrimgeour breaks them in.

Well, that’s how they do things in Great Britain.  The United States of America has a similar political system, except that there is a Muggle President instead of a Muggle Prime Minister.  The Muggle President lives in the White House instead of Downing Street.  And instead of a wizard’s portrait on the wall, there is a portrait of ex-Muggle President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who communicates with the new Muggle President by uttering the following words:  “I tried to warn them about the Military-Industrial Complex.  But would they listen to me?  Oh, no!”

This is how the Wizards break a man.

Every new Muggle U.S. President, when moving into the White House, is forced to meet with Wizard Rufus Scrimgeour whether he wants to or not.  Rufus, who represents the forces of the Deep State, sits the bemused Muggle down, tells him what’s what, demonstrates some hurtful magic, breaks his spirit, and then patronisingly utters a few pointers how to survive, in a world where demons, completely devoid of conscience, freely rule the skies.

American readers may recall when President Barack Obama assumed office eight years ago.  This healthy young buck swaggered into his first meeting with Rufus, a Half-Blood version of The Fonz, chewing gum, all cocky and wisecracking.  A couple hours later, he staggered out, his hair had turned completely white, he was a broken shell of a man.  That’s what they do to you.  But apparently they were not able to do that to Trump, or at least not yet.  Maybe they tried their magic on him, but could not find a way (yet) to get through to this stubborn, arrogant, pig-headed man.  And this must be the reason why we are witnessing, in real time, Plan B in action.

Bringing The War Home

With that, we return to our first source, this piece from the Russian Oppositionist website The Insider.  I remind readers that in this vast battle, where the two confronting armies are spreading out along the plains of Armageddon, the Russian Opps threw their cap into the ring, on the side of the pro-Hillary forces.  For example, Opps Chief Spokespersons and Intellectual-Spiritual Advisors Pussy Riot created this (highly masochistic) anti-Trump campaign video:

Well, a video of that calibre should have swung the election.  But it didn’t.  In other words the Opps bet on the wrong horse.  But these are dedicated ideologists for Hillary’s Old Guard, they have not yet conceded defeat, Ще не вмерли, and all that jazz.  Take your pick:  Either they are still in denial and deluding themselves; or they know something that the rest of us don’t know!

’cause, see, the real issue here is not so much whether these people can prevent Trump’s Inauguration, as what happens after that.  One has to remember that Hillary and her gang, during their long stint in the Deep State regime, learned a lot of valuable tricks about overthrowing other people’s governments.  Why not use that same bag of tricks to overthrow their own government?   This is called “Bringing the War Home”, and that’s the real danger here.  But I digress….

It is time to continuing working through the main accusation these people throw against the new Muggle President.   All of which is based on the “dossier” of an ex-British spy named Christopher Steele.  This story is highly available in the English-language realm, just google it and you’ll get a ton of links.  Steele works for MI-6, which only goes to prove that the British spy agency is on the side of those who want to thwart or overthrow the new American Muggle President.  Their Russian collaborators, such as Opps and the Insider piece, can’t provide any additional facts, but are enlisted just to add some “corroborating” details concerning the hotel, the practices of Russian intelligence services, and that sort of thing.  So here we go…

Obama administration helped overthrow Ukrainian government in 2014.

Where we left off yesterday:  Steele alleges that Donald Trump, upon arriving in Moscow in 2013, in pursuit of some kind of business deal involving football clubs, was put up in the very same luxury suite, in the Ritz-Carlton, as the one in which Barack and Michelle had stayed, back in 2009.  Steele alludes to his secret source, known only as “G”, alleging that video cameras patrolled the suite.  Upon learning that Obama had stayed in this very same suite, Trump allegedly proceeded to hire prostitutes to pee on the bed, as an expression of his contempt for the then-President.  If allegation is true, this obviously constitutes a grotesque act of vandalism.  At the very least, Trump should have bought the Ritz a new mattress.  Maybe even a whole new bed.  I mean, what if one of those prostitutes was HIV-positive, did he even think of that?

More importantly, Trump probably didn’t want his wife to know that he had brought prostitutes into the room.  She might not have understood his reasoning (“Honey, I swear, I didn’t do anything with them, I just needed them to profane the mattress…”)  This would have made him susceptible to FSB blackmail, once the Russians strolled in and informed him they had everything on videotape.  Note that everything is in the subjunctive tense:  “They would have…. they could have…. it seems plausible that….”

Christopher Steele had to go underground and conceal his identity.

So, that’s it.  That’s basically the story.  The rest of the Insider piece consists of “corroborating” details, such the FSB’s penchant for hooking up video cameras and hiring girls to patrol the saunas and bordellos of the capitals.  Always on the hunt for influential yet lonely foreigners to blackmail.  For the final few paragraphs, Insider exposes the machinations of a man named Igor Latynin, who used to run bordellos for Military Intelligence.  Along with his wife Tatiana, Igor directed classy porno films all over Moscow.  One of his most popular blackmail sites was the sauna at the “Berlin Hotel”.  Here one can enlist the services of prostitutes, female college students, young gay youths and masseurs.   It’s La Dolce Vita of the Moscow scene.  Moscow has become the new Babylon of vice.  It’s just like Gomorrah and… Gomorrah’s twin city.

And what does any of this Latynin story have to do with Donald Trump?  Exactly zero.  Like I said, they are just trying to provide some piquant details to back up Chrsitopher Steele’s story.  So that people think, “Hmm… maybe it really happened!”  And maybe it really did, who knows?  In which case, like I said, Trump should be held accountable for buying a new mattress for the Ritz.

[to be continued]

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Trump Kompromat Dossier – Part II

Dear Readers:

This is the second part of my series on the Trump Kompromat, using two sources from the Russian-language media.  Currently we continue to work our way through this first piece, from an Oppositionist website beamed out from a server in San Francisco.  After we finish working through that, then we will turn back to the Evgeny Krutikov analysis from the Russian VZGLIAD newspaper.  Krutikov is actually a reputable journalist, as well as a former spy.  But we might not get to him for a couple of days, because the Insider piece is fairly long.

Come stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow!

First, a few terms for those who are new to Russian politics:  By “Opposition”, aka “Opps”, I am referring to the non-systemic Russian Opposition.  These people exist on a scale ranging from chess-player Garry Kasparov to fake-girl-group Pussy Riot.

Pussy Riot voted for Hillary.

By “non-systemic”, I mean that these political factions, despite numerous attempts to form a liberal political party, have not been able to garner enough votes to win any seats in the Russian Parliament.  They are generally unpopular within their own country, yet compensate for that by being popular in the West.  In fact, they are funded, on the whole, by Western governments, Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s), and various other political meddlers from the Deep State.  I am speaking very broadly, of course.  Not every single individual in the Opps is like that.  Yet it is a fair generalization.  In the past, the Opps received much funding and political support from the Obama Administration.  Hence, in the American election cycle Russian Opps were overwhelmingly pro-Hillary.  When their candidate lost, they were fearful of losing their foreign funding.  Plus, they honestly believe that Trump is a Kremlin puppet, and since they hate the Kremlin, they hate Trump as well.  Their job now is to assist the anti-Trump American establishment in attempting to discredit and de-legitimize Trump.  Just as, for many years, these same people have been attempting to discredit and de-legitimize the fairly-elected Russian President Putin.  Opps are masters of this game (of discrediting and de-legitimizing), using a combination of fact and fiction.  So, what is fact, and what is fiction?  That, my friends, is your job, as discerning readers, to try to figure out!

Some typical members of Russian Opps.

The piece I am working through, by an unnamed author, claims his story is based on an “inside source” within the Russian intelligence services and hotel industry.  I can tell you right now (Spoiler Alert!) that the piece doesn’t prove anything, one way or the other.  Its sole ideological function is to add some corroborative background information to the sensationalistic Opps accusation that Donald Trump was blackmailed by the Russian FSB based on a sex tape.  To do this, the Insider piece provides details about the hotel scene in Russia, about the way bugging devices are placed, about some scandalous events, etc.  If this were a trial, then this piece would be the “background witness” who gets on the stand and swears, “Yes, Your Honor, it was common practice back in those days to make sex tapes and blackmail foreign businessmen.”  Keep in mind that Kremlin spokespersons, in poo-poo-ing the anti-Trump accusations, have insisted that, “No, Trump was just an ordinary businessman back in those days, and we never blackmail businessmen.”  So, this piece is countering, “Yes, you do too, and we can cite a few examples…”  That is its ideological function.

A 5-Star Hotel in St. Petersburg, Russia

Insider describes how the spies working out of hotels always have their own video camera setup.  In a pinch they can shoot their own sex tapes, but for more complicated scenarios, they prefer to use the professional services of the FSB’s technical-film division.  Those guys can film anything they want, with Hollywood-like production values, and they never even have to get a judge’s warrant!  Insider mentions the name of one of these former operatives:  Alexei Smirnov.  Smirnov used to command an entire army of bugging devices, including tiny video cameras which could clip on to a tie, or fit in a button.  This is extraordinary stuff — who could believe that such technology exists!  In 2013 Smirnov got in trouble when he attempted to blackmail a high-ranking official.  As a result – kaput! — Smirnov ended up dead in his own automobile.  When his flat was searched, his colleagues found a mountain of kompromat against government officials, businessmen, and his own fellow employees.

At this point in the story, we are all supposed to gasp and go, “Wow!  Who knew??!”

What Happens in the Ritz Never Stays In the Ritz

So, there is a Five-Star luxury hotel on Tverskaya Street in Moscow, called the Ritz-Carlton.   The owner of the Ritz is the former Head of Administration of the President of Kazakhstan.  His name is Bulat Utemuratov, and he is known as the richest man in all of Kazakhstan.  In 2011 Bulat bought the hotel for $700 million dollars.  The hotel has a fairly clean reputation, only a couple of tainting scandals, namely (1)  Every now and then there is an incident where a guest’s cellphone has been stolen; and (2) the biggest scandal touching the reputation of the hotel, occurred on 25 November 2012 when a 25-year-old girl fell (or was pushed) to her death out of a window.  Evil tongues claimed that the girl, Natalia, a Russian native from the Krasnoyarsk Krai, had been working the hotel as a prostitute and got into a bad scene with a drunken businessman from St. Petersburg.

Bulat Utemuratov: The richest man in Kazakhstan

Technically, the Ritz does not have a “Presidential” suite.  It has five “luxury” suites, ranging from the smallest (64 square meters) to the largest — a whopping 237 square meters and containing a library, a grand piano, and a conference room.  The windows open onto a stunning view of the Kremlin and Red Square.  Price is $18,000 dollars per night.

Like all major hotels in Russian which host foreign visitors, the Ritz has its own “curator” from the spy services — actually they work for the Foreign Ministry, in a section called “Operative-Tracking Unit”, abbreviated in Russian as ОПУ (OPU), and they are called “Opushniki“, so that’s what I will call them too.  So, anyhow, the chief Opushnik for a given hotel gets his own suite to hang out in all day long, along with his posse of cooks, maids, prostitutes, and other employees.  Their job is to watch over important foreign visitors and possibly trap them in a sex scandal.

When President Barack Obama flew to Russia in 2009, on an official state visit, they be puttin’ him up in the Ritz-Carlton.  Obama’s personal curator-Opushnik was a man known as Roman L.  In the course of performing his duties, Roman was forced to detain some shady character, a Nigerian citizen named Obasa Prince Henry, who had tried to bluff his way into the Presidential suite, claiming to be part of President Obama’s security entourage.  Upon frisking the interloper, hotel security found that he was carrying a diplomatic ID, #14265, issued by the Nigerian Foreign Service office; and indeed he claimed to be an official within the Nigerian consulate.  Yet, when questioned, members of the Nigerian consulate denied that this man had any official business within the hotel, and had no idea why he wanted to meet with the American President.

Aside from that odd incident (a story which actually leads nowhere), President Obama’s visit to Moscow was apparently non-eventful.  He and First Lady Michelle stayed in the above-mentioned $18-K suite with the piano.  They came, they tinkled the ivories (google it, you filthy minds!), they left.  If they had sex, I reckon it was only with each other, and that’s legal, ’cause they’re married.

The story continues in the year 2013, when Donald Trump arrives in Moscow and stays in that very same suite!  And this is where the story gets sleazy, as I think you already know…

[to be continued]

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