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Wednesday, August 4, 1999 Published at 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK


Presidential aide says Lenin's body to be buried

Russian President Boris Yeltsin's chief of staff, Aleksandr Stalyevich Voloshin, said in an interview in Wednesday's edition of "Komsomolskaya Pravda" that Lenin's body, currently on display in the mausoleum on Moscow's Red Square, would soon be moved and buried.

Voloshin told the interviewer that Yeltsin was not clinging to power for the sake of it, and wanted to hand over to a young, vigorous successor who would continue on the path of reform.

The interviewer said that all the same, actions could be taken - such as the removal of Lenin's body - which might provoke street violence, which the authorities would use as a pretext to cancelling or postponing elections.

There follows an extract from the interview.

You are saying correct things, Aleksandr Stalyevich, but you know yourself that recent years have taught everybody to constantly expect something nasty from the Kremlin .

That is why even now it is difficult to have faith in the purity of intentions.

It is simpler to imagine some exotic variant that will explode the situation in the country and provide a pretext for canceling or postponing elections.

I do not expect any nasty things from the Kremlin and I am surprised that you are saying this.

There have been precedents.

Our president is a man who could send tanks to open fire at the White House and use artillery and aviation to restore constitutional law and order.

What if he decides to resort to former practices? He is capable of that.

I repeat that today there are no grounds to think that Boris Nikolayevich will violate the law in any way.

But others can be prompted to do something drastic and then force could be used to calm everybody down.

For instance, the mummy could be removed from Red Square.

What if the Communists pour out into the streets in defence of Lenin? I assure you that nobody will go out into any streets.

But will the body be removed? Definitely.

Do you know the date? I will resort here to meaningful silence... That is exactly what I am saying - variants are possible.

For instance, the banning of the Communist Party.

Isn't it a possibility? To ban the CPRF and bury it in the same grave with Lenin? You know yourself that any party can be banned only in instances clearly provided for by law.

That is why Yeltsin persistently recommends Justice Minister Krasheninnikov to take a closer look.

I was present at the president's meeting with the Minister of Justice and did not hear any such assignments given .

We are speaking not only about the fate of a party but also about our citizens whose sympathies are on the side of the CPRF .

We must show a respectful attitude to the views and positions of these people, most of whom are of advanced age.

There is no need to speed up events, everything should happen naturally...

Source: BBC Monitoring Caversham 4 Aug 99

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.



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