/TASS/. Ninety-five years ago, on 1 August 1924, the first permanent mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin (Ulyanov) was opened to the public. Lenin was a founder of the Soviet state, chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and leader of the Bolshevik Party. TASS has prepared a material about the mausoleum.
Lenin's death and first mausoleum
Vladimir Lenin died on 21 January 1924 at the age of 53 in his Gorki residence in the Moscow region (now called Leninskiye Gorki). He did not leave any written instructions on the method and place of his burial. On January 22, Lenin's body was embalmed for a short term by academician and pathologist Alexey Ivanovich Abrikosov. On January 23, his body was taken to Moscow's Paveletsky railway station and displayed in the Hall of Columns at the House of the Unions.
Initially the governmental commission on Lenin's funeral, chaired by head of the Joint State Political Directorate at the USSR's Council of People's Commissars Felix Dzerzhinsky, planned to bury Lenin at the Kremlin Wall Necropolis, next to the grave of chairman of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee Yakov Sverdlov. However, it became clear on January 23 that over one million people wanted to say goodbye to Lenin, and it was impossible to accommodate them all at the House of the Unions in the short term. On January 24, Lenin's widow Nadezhda Krupskaya agreed to extend the term for a month. On the same day, a governmental commission decided to set up a temporary crypt for Lenin's body on the Red Square near the Kremlin Senate Tower. Architect Alexey Schusev was tasked with designing the crypt. It took him several hours to propose a compact structure made of Arkhangelsk pine. The mausoleum looked like an ancient rectangular stepped tower (ziggurat), with a blue-colored cube sunk into the ground and surmounted by a three-step pyramid. The inscription "LENIN" was made from black bars on the facade. The first mausoleum was completed in two days. On January 27, Lenin's body was transferred there, and guard of honor was stationed at the entrance. By the end of January, the condition of Lenin's body started to deteriorate, and another decision on temporary embalming was made, led by Alexey Abrikosov. A glass sarcophagus with a colling system was installed in the mausoleum.
By that time, a decision was already made on long-term preservation of Lenin's body. According to official statements, the decision was influenced by numerous requests from workers and peasants. General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin (Dzugashvili) was one of the main supporters of this idea.
In March 1924, a commission on embalming Lenin's body was set up, headed by biochemist Boris Zbarsky and anatomist Vladimir Vorobyev. On March 26, the mausoleum was closed to the public, and works on long-term embalming started.
The first mausoleum was a temporary structure, so Alexey Schusev was tasked with designing a new, permanent building. In March 1924, his project was approved. In general, the idea remained the same (main volume and surmounted stepped pyramid), but some new additions included a portico and side stands. The second mausoleum was built from oak and painted olive. It stood 9 meters high, and its external volume was 1,300 cubic meters. After works on long-term embalming of Lenin's body were completed, the mausoleum was opened to the public on 1 August 1924. Inside the mausoleum, Lenin's body was placed in a crystal sarcophagus designed by architect Konstantin Melnikov.
In early 1925, an international competition was announced to design a stone crypt for Lenin's body. Out of 117 suggested designs, Schusev's project was chosen. The architect suggested to remake the second wooden mausoleum from red and black granite on a reinforced concrete frame. The volume of the structure was increased to 5,800 cubic meters, and its height - to 12 meters. Construction was completed in October 1930. At the same time, architect Isidor Frantsuz led the project of re-styling the Kremlin Wall Necropolis and constructing guest stands on both sides of the mausoleum for parades and marches on the Red Square.
The central stand was built in later 1930s. The country's leadership and high-profile guests used the central stand during parades and celebrations.
On 3 July 1941, after the start of the Great Patriotic War, Lenin's body was evacuated to Tyumen. It was returned to Moscow on 26 March 1945.
On 24 June 1945, Soviet soldiers threw German banners and standards to the foot of the mausoleum during Victory Day celebrations.
The mausoleum was once again opened to the public on 16 September 1945. Until the dissolution of the USSR, the mausoleum was visited by up to 2.3 million people every year.
After the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, a sarcophagus with his embalmed body was placed next to Lenin's sarcophagus on 9 March 1953. The inscriptions "LENIN" and "STALIN" were made on the mausoleum. On 30 October 1961, the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union established that "serious violations of Lenin's principles by Stalin, abuses of power, mass repressions against honest Soviet people and other actions in the times of the personality cult make it impossible to keep Stalin's body in the Lenin Mausoleum." On 1 November 1961, Stalin's body was transferred from the mausoleum and buried by the Kremlin Wall.
The RSFSR Council of Ministers ruled on 30 August 1960 to designate the mausoleum as a monument of national importance. It is now considered a monument of urban planning and architecture of federal significance.
In the 1970s, the mausoleum was closed for reconstruction. Newest devices and engineering infrastructure were installed there, and obsolete marble blocks were replaced. The crystal sarcophagus was made bulletproof after repeated attempts to break it and destroy Lenin's body. The second large-scale renovation of the mausoleum was carried out in 2012-2013 to fix the fault in the waterproof system of the foundation.
In 1990, the Lenin Mausoleum was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, together with the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square.
After the dissolution of the USSR, many called for burying Lenin's body and restoring the historical appearance of the Red Square, but this was not done. On 6 October 1993, a guard of honor was transferred from the Lenin Mausoleum to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexandrov Garden by a decree of Kremlin Commandant Mikhail Barsukov.
In 2017, Kremlin Commandant Sergey Khlebnikov said that around 450,000 people visit the mausoleum every year. Lenin's mausoleum and the Kremlin Wall Necropolis are open to the public from 10 am until 1 pm every day except for Mondays and Fridays.