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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 15:34 GMT
Soviet leaders' gifts go on show
Portraits of Soviet leaders
Young and old generations have differing reactions to the display
An exhibition of more than 500 gifts given to Russian leaders during the Soviet era has opened in Moscow.

The presents, many of which have never been seen by the public, are on display in the Kremlin Museum until the end of November.

The exhibition covers the period from 1921 to 1990 - from Lenin to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet president.

One of the most unusual exhibits is a portrait of Lenin made entirely from human hair.

It was made by a Moscow barber and presented to the Soviet government in the early 1930s.

Museum curators selected the exhibits from thousands of gifts given to Soviet leaders, many of which had lain forgotten in the vaults of Russia's museums for decades.


Museum exhibits
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The presents range from the exquisite to the bizarre.

Visitors to the exhibition can see a portrait of Lenin made entirely from different types of grain, as well as a model oil rig fashioned from silver by Azerbaijani workers in 1922.

Also on display is the pneumatic hammer used by Alexei Stakhanov, who became a Soviet icon and Time magazine cover boy after mining more than 100 tonnes of coal in a single six-hour shift in 1935.

Correspondents say older Muscovites have attended the exhibition as a way of recalling, with a degree of nostalgia, the world of their youth.

Some in the younger generation appear curious but cynical about the Soviet era.

"I came here to find something that would prove wrong my image of Soviet leaders, but in fact there's nothing here that has changed my image of them," Yulya, a Moscow student, told Reuters news agency.

The unusual gifts on show inside the Kremlin Museum

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