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Videotaping Inside Lenin’s Tomb Shown on Western TV With AM-Lenin’s Last Stand, Bjt

November 6, 1991

MOSCOW (AP) _ A Soviet camera crew for the first time videotaped the body of Vladimir I. Lenin inside his mausoleum and sold it to Western networks, photographers said Tuesday. But whether Soviet viewers will ever get to see the tape is unclear.

″There was a threat from Gosteleradio (the state TV agency) that anyone who shows Lenin will be fired,″ said Alexander Vulkani, the first Soviet photographer to film Lenin inside the red-granite mausoleum on Red Square.

The Spiegel TV station also videotaped inside the mausoleum and broadcast the film in Germany on Sunday.

The three-minute Soviet tape was sold for ″thousand of dollars″ to the French TF1 television network and shown in France Monday night, TF1 Moscow correspondent Arnaud La Peyre reported. He declined to give an exact figure.

ABC-TV also showed the tape Monday, bought from the same source, said Ned Warwick, ABC’s director of news coverage for Europe, the Mideast and Africa.

Joerg Mettke, Moscow correspondent for Der Spiegel magazine, said permission for the German crew to film was obtained from the mausoleum’s commandant, and the crew ″didn’t pay a kopeck″ for it.

As Communism crumbles, Lenin’s reputation as a great leader has suffered. Following the failed August coup, many advocate removing Lenin’s body from the glass-covered sarcophagus and burying the body underground.

But reports this week about trafficking in Lenin’s image have taken anti- Leninist blasphemy to new heights.

A report released Tuesday in New York said the Soviet government is preparing to sell the embalmed body for a minimum price of $15 million. Sale would be by sealed-bid auction, bypassing auction houses.

Guarantees would have to be made barring any ″commercial or improper″ use of the remains, reported Forbes FYI, a supplement to Forbes Magazine.

It said the Kremlin had received threats that the body would be dug up and desecrated if it was buried, and a deputy interior minister ″suggested that, ironically, Lenin’s body might be safest in the West.″

The videotape showed various areas of the mausoleum, including the Soviet founder’s body, an exercise room for militia guards, the area where the tomb’s temperature is regulated at 59 degrees, and a room containing weaponry taken from visitors, La Peyre said.

Visitors to the mausoleum normally cannot carry cameras or recording equipment. Thousands of Soviets and foreigners view Lenin’s body each year.

Vulkani, who works for the hard-line paper Sovietskaya Rossiya, said he and a Pravda photographer were allowed to take pictures inside after receiving permission from an assistant to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Still photographs of Lenin were published in Pravda.

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