Why and when was Stalin taken out of the Mausoleum?
How many people know exactly in which year they carried Stalin from the Mausoleum and, most importantly, in connection with which this happened? The answer to this question, which is quite obvious for elderly people who have witnessed those long-standing events, worries many of our contemporaries because of the interest that is manifested in society to everything related to the period of communist rule. In recent years, a lot of materials have appeared in the media that shed light on this event. Summarizing them, we will try to recreate the true picture of what happened.
Overthrow of idol
Before starting a conversation about the reason and when Stalin was brought out of the Mausoleum, one should mentally refer to the events that followed shortly after the Twentieth Twentieth Congress of the CPSU, at which then head of state N. S. Khrushchev loudly flagellated the cult of his predecessor.
Soon after the overthrow of the "father of nations" to the level of the "bloody executioner" from the Kremlin, there was an order to dismantle his monuments, which the country had thickly acquired in previous decades.However, this measure on the way to eradicating the tyrant from people's memory was insufficient, since he himself was the main monument of his own actions, embalmed and lying in the Mausoleum next to Lenin's mummy.
It is quite clear that Khrushchev, who presented himself as a fiery advocate for Leninist norms of governing the country, could not allow Stalin’s body to coexist with the “holy relics” of the creator of the world's first “state of workers and peasants”. In addition, the removal of Stalin from the Mausoleum of the Communist Party and its general secretary seemed to have distanced themselves from all the iniquities created during his rule.
It is necessary to clarify not only why Stalin was removed from the Mausoleum, but also how he got there at all. And this story began in 1924, when on a cold January day the country was shocked (as the communist propaganda inspired by all), the news of Lenin's death. At that time, the party leadership was faced with the difficult task of drafting the script for the upcoming mourning ceremony, which fully reflected the scale of the deceased leader’s personality, emphasized the irreplaceable loss, but at the same time showed that he was eternally soulful and, if possible, solid. his people.
The birth of new rituals
It should be noted that during the years of the Civil War a certain set of mourning rituals had developed, since there were more than enough reasons to conduct them. It became, for example, a tradition to incline the banners and, “frozen in mournful silence”, to listen to brass bands playing the “Internationale”, which became the main Soviet hit for many decades.
The occasion and the speeches uttered over the grave of another fallen wrestler were very suitable, illiteracy, and sometimes the drunken incoherence of which did not spoil the general impression against the background of oaths in eternal memory and promises to take revenge on the "counter". However, it was clearly not to get rid of speeches and banners here, since the brainwashing of the working class was painfully large-scale.
Protracted farewell to the body
And then the fantasy of a missed seminarian Comrade V.I. Stalin came to the rescue of everyone. In the Mausoleum, which was hastily assembled from planks and installed in Red Square, they placed a coffin with the body of the world proletariat’s leader, which had barely cooled down, thus providing an opportunity for everyone to say goodbye to him.
But this ceremony was delayed due to the fact that most of the peripheral party organizations sent their delegations to Moscow, which, because of remoteness, arrived late, and the body parting had to be extended.The result was a discrepancy that violated the greatness of the moment. The fact is that only the relics of the saints are incorruptible, the remains of all other people (even party leaders) are subject to all natural laws. Soon it began to be felt in the air, despite the cold weather that year.
Revival of pagan custom
And then the “father of nations” came up with an original idea: to embalm a body and, placing it in a luxurious mausoleum, make the symbol of immortality of the most delusional ideas for the realization of which millions of lives were so ineptly and criminally ruined. The fact that the deceased leader was an atheist and to all kinds of ceremonies (including pagan) was negative, in this case nobody cared. More interested in the question of how to technically implement their plans.
Another triumph of Soviet scientists
The difficulty consisted in the fact that the last time embalming was performed in ancient Egypt, and after a long time ago the technology of this process was forgotten a lot, or, more simply, it was lost 2 thousand years ago. This gap was trying to fill the famous Russian surgeon Pirogov, which was later tested and developed his technique.
However, due to its imperfections, Soviet anatomical scientists had to look for a solution to the problem themselves, with which they coped brilliantly. Since the Stalinist idea justified itself, and Lenin's body acquired the desired status of "imperishable relics", then he himself was embalmed after death and put in the Mausoleum next to the mummy that had already taken root there.
Shrines of the communist ideology
When Stalin's body was taken out of the Mausoleum, and it was embalmed with the same technology as Lenin's, there were absolutely no signs of corruption on it. Moreover, experts who are engaged in the preservation of Lenin's mummy today say that even today, after nine years spent in the Mausoleum and several decades in the ground, it should look quite bearable. However, there is hardly a chance to check it out.
As mentioned above, the purpose of embalming and preserving Lenin’s body was to create from it a certain shrine of the new communist religion, which was planted in the country in return for Orthodoxy, which was strongly supplanted and declared “an instrument in the hands of the exploiting classes”.
No less significant attribute of the new cult was the body of Stalin.According to the plan of the then ideologists, the mummies of these great rulers were supposed to inspire the idea of the inviolability of the society built by them, whose members, according to the same propagandists, were the happiest in the world, and in the future they should have tasted the bliss of the communism they built . However, real life has made adjustments to their design.
Why was the body of Stalin taken out of the Mausoleum?
To answer this question, go back to the events of 1956. The facts made public by Khrushchev in his speech at the XX Congress of the CPSU, as well as the party’s desire to dissociate itself from the iniquities created earlier and shift the blame for them to the generalissimo who had died three years earlier, prompted him to think about removing Stalin from the Mausoleum. When such a decision was finally made at the highest level of power, its implementation was carried out according to a long-established scheme, which consisted in the fact that the appearance of manifestation of initiative from below was created, and the party leadership was only going to meet the wishes of the masses.
The head of the Soviet type
That is what they did this time.In the spring of 1961, the first secretary of the Leningrad Regional Party Committee of the CPSU, Igor V. Spiridonov, was “lowered” to initiate a series of labor collectives in the town of assembly where the public would demand the removal of the body of the former leader who dared to depart from Leninist principles.
During all the preceding years, party ideologues asserted that a new “Soviet man”, meeting the highest moral standards, was formed in the country's victorious socialism. In actual fact, this turned out to be another propaganda rattle, but the leaders of the “Soviet type” in the years of Stalin's rule appeared in a multitude. Their main principle was to perceive the position of the authorities as their own and to strictly execute all the directives “from above”. Comrade Spiridonov was one of such leaders.
The strength of party discipline
Thus, when Stalin was carried out of the Mausoleum, the very methods that he himself planted were used. At the initiative of the head of the Leningrad Communists, a meeting of workers of the Kirov factory was held.after which the newspapers published their collective appeal to the leadership of the CPSU with a request to restore justice and save their shrine, Vladimir Ilyich, from such a compromising neighborhood.
None of the representatives of the party nomenclature dared to openly object, although many of them could not accept the reproach of their former idol. Party discipline, as always, prevailed over their own convictions, although, according to contemporaries, at the time Stalin was taken out of the Mausoleum, some members of the commission for his reburial had tears in their eyes.
The date when Stalin was carried out of the Mausoleum was October 31, more precisely, the night of November 1, 1961. It was not by chance that the party leadership of the country during this period decided on such a risky step. The fact is that by this time the material standard of living of ordinary people has deteriorated significantly.
This happened mainly because of the ever-increasing cost of essential food and clothing. At the same time, citizens of the country, accustomed during the years of the previous government to regular price reductions,could not help but compare the time of Khrushchev with Stalin, preferring the latter, despite all the iniquities that were created in that period.
Deficit of products, crushing ideology
Neither successes in space exploration (flight of Y. Gagarin), nor world leadership in the field of armaments (creation of the first hydrogen bomb) could incline popular sympathies to the side of the new government. The lack of meat and sausage in shops crossed all the great achievements of that era in people's minds. Thus, Stalin was brought out of the Mausoleum in the year when the party leadership could not have urgently needed, if not to erase from the people's memory of the former leader, then at least remove his visible appearance.
The peculiarity of human memory is that the good remains in it much longer than the bad, and the very presence of Stalin’s mummy next to the body of Lenin, whose authority remained unquestioned, also rehabilitated him in the opinion of the masses, despite all the revelations that sounded from the rostrum XX party congress. This required an end, which was one of the reasons why Stalin was taken out of the Mausoleum.
The body of Stalin was carried out of the Mausoleum in the year when the whole country warmly welcomed the decisions of the next "historic" party congress, this time on the 22nd. It was there that the deputies, many of whom in the past were the most faithful associates of the deceased leader, voted unanimously (otherwise there was no other in the USSR) to remove the body of a man who dared to violate his principles from the Leninist tomb.
It is quite remarkable how the body was reburied, the details of which became known from the memories of the participants. It happened on the night of October 31 to November 1, 1961. The mummy of Stalin, taken out of the Mausoleum, was lowered into a grave, which had been dug up near the Kremlin wall, all along the route to which plywood shields were installed, hiding what was happening from prying eyes. However, such a precautionary measure was unnecessary, since the police officers who cordoned off Red Square did not allow anyone to do so, explaining this to the preparation of a festive parade.
In advance, the shoulder straps of the Generalissimo, as well as the stars of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Hero of Labor, were removed from the jacket of the debunked idol. Only once during this secret nightly action there was a problem.The officers of the security team, who were ordered to cut off the gold buttons from his uniform and sew on their brass instead (not to dismiss the good), refused to obey, so much did the worship of Stalin in all their previous lives. For this they were later demoted, and the ill-fated buttons on the jacket were replaced by the hands of more obedient performers.
What is the explanation of the secrecy in which the body was reburied? Undoubtedly, Khrushchev and his entourage were afraid of popular unrest, which could be provoked by the upcoming actions. It is curious to note that at first it was supposed to bury Stalin at the Novodevichy cemetery of Moscow, but this idea was abandoned due to the possibility of unpredictable excesses - from the national pilgrimage to the grave before the abduction of the coffin.
On the same night, a rehearsal of the upcoming parade took place on Red Square. As soon as the grave was covered with earth, they announced the roar of tank engines and the chased marching marching regiments. The military, of course, did not know about what happened here a few hours earlier and, unwittingly, gave the last honors to the defeated idol.