It Costs Russia $200,000 a Year to Keep Vladimir Lenin’s Body Looking Life-Like


A rare photo of Lenin's body taken in 1991. Image Credit: Getty Images

Keeping a 92-year-old corpse looking fresh isn’t cheap. Former Soviet Union leader Vladimir Lenin has been on display to the public in Moscow since shortly after his death in 1924, but you can’t just leave an embalmed body out for decades and expect it to look ready to spring to life at any moment. Over generations, a biomedical lab in Moscow has been developing and refining cutting-edge preservation technology specifically to suit Lenin’s needs. As you might expect, it’s not a cheap process. 

According to a Russian government budget item posted online recently, the total bill for a year’s worth of corpse upkeep comes to more than 13 million rubles (roughly $198,000). The body has to be re-embalmed every other year, and on occasion, certain pieces have to be replaced—like his eyelashes—to keep Lenin looking fresh and youthful. 

Lenin lying in state in 1924. Image Credit: Getty Images

“Fresh,” of course, is a pretty relative term when you’re talking decades-old corpses. Even in the dim red light of the mausoleum, Lenin looks pretty waxy. But for someone about to turn 146 years old, he actually looks pretty fantastic.

Lenin is not the only world leader to be kept display-ready long after death. You can also visit Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and several other well-preserved rulers, including some popes

[h/t BBC]