One of Moscow’s unforgettable highlights is a visit to the father of the Russian revolution: Vladmir Lenin. Adam Bennett depicts his encounter with the dogmatic politician who was embalmed and preserved over 80 years ago.
Staring into the bulletproof glass that separates me from the legendary Russian leader, I am surprised to see he’s still looking his best. Embalmed in 1924, just after his death at 53 years old, Lenin was displayed in Red Square where a staggering 750,000 citizens paid their respects over just 14 days. Nowadays, Lenin rests in his mausoleum with his Cyrillic name set atop the entrance, echoing a turbulent Soviet and Russian past.
The temperature is -15 and it’s snowing as I join the queue for the mausoleum on a blisteringly cold January afternoon. Waiting in line to walk through airport-style metal detectors, get scanned with a handheld device and then patted down by armed guards, I learn from a disgruntled traveller that all mobile phones, cameras and bags must be turned into the Kutayfa tower cloak rooms, adjacent to the mausoleum. Once the checkpoint guards are satisfied I’m not dangerous, I join other visitors as we are ushered silently down three flights of stairs by more guards.