Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 124

Before breaking for its summer recess, the Russian Duma appealed to the population to resist President Yeltsin’s call to remove Lenin’s body from its Red Square tomb. (Itar-Tass, June 23) The Communist-dominated Duma was carrying out the instructions of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, which had instructed its parliamentary faction to prevent what it called a "blasphemous act of vandalism." Party leader Gennady Zyuganov accused Yeltsin of deliberately seeking to provoke public outrage, resistance, and disorder. (Ekho Moskvy, June 21)

The Monitor’s correspondent in Saratov oblast says that events in Moscow are attracting less and less attention in the provinces, but cautions that passivity should not be interpreted as indifference. The majority of the Russian population were taught from childhood to see Lenin’s tomb as the preeminent symbol of statehood. The psychological shock of the collapse of communism has softened over time, he argues, but painful memories are likely to be revived if Yeltsin goes ahead with a referendum on Lenin’s tomb. Our correspondent says ordinary people at present hold many different opinions on the issue but would inevitably polarize into two opposing camps if a referendum and its accompanying propaganda campaign were held. Currently, he says, many people support the idea of burying Lenin on purely religious grounds. But even among such people there are many who would prefer to leave Lenin where he is for fear of provoking a repetition of the violent and bloody events that followed Yeltsin’s dissolution of the Russian parliament in 1993. Our correspondent says many people share the view of the Communist Party that Yeltsin has raised the issue of Lenin’s tomb in a deliberate effort to provoke a showdown with the opposition. They fear that nothing but harm will come from the social polarization the issue could arouse.

Moscow Maintains Criticism of NATO Enlargement.