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Various readers have written in with ideas as to what to do with Lenin’s body, not all of them kind (and the person who suggested that it should be exhibited in the Clinton library goes too far). Another reader, who grew up in communist Czechoslovakia, took the opportunity to recount this joke from his childhood. It was apparently, a difficult time for the Czech party leadership. Stalin had been discredited, so Lenin had to be boosted as the good cop to Stalin’s bad. Children were taught about a kindly, gentle and benevolent Lenin, and here’s a joke that sprung up in response:

It was the anniversary of Lenin’s death and a newspaper reporter is interviewing
Lenin’s widow, Comrade Krupskaya. Krupskaya explains to the journalist that one of the most impressive things about Lenin had been “his love for people”.

The journalist asks for a specific example.

“When we were in exile in Finland, we had to hide in some farmer’s barn. One morning Vladimir Ilyich was shaving and a small boy came in and watched him shave.”

The reporter expects the story to continue but Krupskaya seems to be finished. Puzzled, he asks how this anecdote reveals Lenin’s love for the people.

Krupskaya is startled that any further explanation is necessary. “Well there he was, alone, with the boy, holding a straight razor …he could have easily slashed his throat … and he didn’t.”


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