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Russia Marks Lenin’s 129th Birthday

April 22, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) _ Communists and other hard-liners marked the 129th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin’s birth Thursday by laying wreaths outside the mausoleum where his body is on display.

A few of Lenin’s critics, meanwhile, marked the birthday by blowing up a 10-foot-high statue of the Soviet Union’s founder.

Lenin, who led Russia’s 1917 Bolshevik revolution, died of a stroke in 1924 at the age of 53. Soon after, his body was embalmed and put on display on Red Square, where it has remained ever since.

The Communist Party’s No. 2, Valentin Kuptsov, and several supporters gathered outside the tomb for a brief ceremony on a sunny Thursday afternoon.

Later Thursday, the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party was scheduled to stage a rally demanding that Lenin’s body be buried.

Recent polls show that most Russians want Lenin buried, but Communist lawmakers who dominate Russia’s lower house of parliament object to removing him from the mausoleum, once a site of pilgrimage for Soviet citizens.

Before he died, Lenin asked that he be buried next to his mother in St. Petersburg, which for decades was named Leningrad.

On Wednesday night, a bomb destroyed a statue of Lenin in the city of Berezovsky in the western Siberian Sverdlovsk region, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

Many of the Soviet Union’s thousands of Lenin monuments were toppled when the union fell apart in 1991. But authorities left up the ones deemed to have artistic merit.

Update hourly