Moscow mausoleum to house "guest remains" during absence.
One of the most important figures of the 20th century will embark on a world tour of personal appearances in 2017. But Vladmir Illich Lenin won't be in any position to "press the flesh" when he meets his fans worldwide to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution. His remains, carefully preserved since his death in 1924, will stay in the trademark glass case, with fans in The US, Britain, Eurpoe and Australia filing respectfully – and curiously - past him as they have done in his Red Square mausoleum since 1929.
The tour is the shared brainchild of the Russian Tourism Association, pop promoter Harvey Goldsmith and Madame Tussauds. “Of course, the first problem for the tour is going to be who’s going to deputize for Vladimir in Moscow while he’s on the road.” said Goldsmith. “The availability thing is particularly tricky, as we don’t really know who’s, you know, going to qualify. We’re talking about world class celebs who are either going to be dead in 2017, or are willing to keep still for really long periods of time.” It’s understood that feelers have been extended towards the royal family, Dame Shirley Bassey, Joan Collins, David Attenborough, Cliff and of course, Lady Thatcher.
“For my money, the favourites to fill in for Lenin in Moscow would be either Mrs Thatcher or Rupert Murdoch,” said Svetlana Sergeev from the Russian Ministry of Tourism. Lenin’s pull isn’t just his historic status, or his surprisingly long shelf life. There’s also the shivery feeling of walking past someone who may not have changed the world for the better.”
Perhaps surprisingly, representatives of the already-dead have got wind of the scheme and have made offers for the temporarily vacant Moscow spot. “We’re talking about dead stars who’ve been given the formaldehyde or deep freeze send off but are still more or less presentable in public,” said Goldsmith. But despite initial meetings, the only viable volunteer candidates to emerge are Walt Disney and Roy Orbison. “Not really what we’re looking for” said Svetlana Sergeev. “But we may end up with a roster of support acts, with a grand reunion finale featuring up to ten stars when Lenin returns from the tour in time for the October 2017 celebrations. A kind of son et lumiere with tanks and music.”
Worldwide venues already taking bookings for the Lenin tour include the Smithsonian Museum, Washington, The Elysee Palace in Paris, the Museum of Australia in Canberra and the Forum in Kentish Town (previously the Mean Fiddler).