ST. PETERSBURG, November 15. /TASS/. The problem of reburial of anthropological museum exhibits, such as the body of Vladimir Lenin and the head of Hadji Murad kept in a St. Petersburg museum should be solved by museums, Director of the State Hermitage Museum and President of the Russian Union of Museums, Mikhail Piotrovsky, said on Wednesday.
"The issue of [reburying anthropological exhibits] can be addressed. I believe that these issues should be tackled by museums. The question is whether dead people can be kept in museums. This is a big question," Piotrovsky told TASS at a meeting of the Russian Union of Museums in St. Petersburg.
He recalled that the Hermitage Museum likewise has anthropological exhibits, including some world-famous Egyptian mummies. Piotrovsky noted that in each case the problem should be solved individually and did not rule out that the issue could be raised within the Union of Museums.
"I believe this should be an individual decision. However, if some museums get in touch with us, we can address this issue. It is a very acute and politicized issue, but essentially it can be discussed," he said.
Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov earlier spoke out in favor of reburying Vladimir Lenin’s body and the remains of Imam Shamil’s associate, Hadji Murad, kept in a St. Petersburg museum.
In November 2015, the Russian Ministry of Culture set up an inter-agency commission to coordinate efforts related to the reburial of the remains of Hadji Murad. It included representatives of the Russian Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations, the Institute of Archaeology at the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera). The museum’s press service noted that all the commission’s files are designated For Official Use Only until decisions are made.
Hadji Murad (1816-1852) was a prominent Avar leader and military commander and naib (assistant to a superior or a clergyman) to Imam Shamil, a political and religious leader of the North Caucasus Muslims. After Hadji Murad’s death, his head was cut off and sent to St. Petersburg, where it was kept in the Military Medical Academy and was later transferred to the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography.