Monday-Tuesday, October 30-October 31, 1961: Stalin's body

The New York Times, October 30:

Stalin's Body to Be Moved
From Tomb in Red Square
Party Votes Unanimously to Transfer
Downgraded Dictator From Side of
Lenin in Communism's Shrine

MOSCOW, Oct. 30 -- The Soviet Union took the dramatic step of shattering the image of Stalin today by ordering his body removed from its place beside the sarcophagus of Lenin in the great mausoleum in Red Square.

The transfer of the body of Stalin, preserved by a secret chemical formula since his death in March, 1953, was approved unanimously by the twenty-second congress of the Soviet Communist party.

For Premier Khrushchev, the congress resolution symbolized the defeat of elements in the Soviet Union that have opposed his post-Stalin reforms. It capped the campaign of de-Stalinization begun by Mr. Khrushchev at the twentieth party congress in 1956.

Stalin had been denounced by Mr. Khrushchev for opposing the Leninist thesis of "peaceful coexistence" and for his internal regime of terror.

From a 2009 story in Pravda: "(In 1953) Stalin's body was embalmed and placed for public viewing in Lenin's Mausoleum, which was then called 'The Mausoleum of V.I. Lenin and I.V. Stalin.' On October 30, 1961, the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ruled that Stalin's gross desecration of Lenin's legacy made it impossible to keep the casket with his body in the Mausoleum. Stalin's body was removed from the Mausoleum on the night of October 31, 1961, and buried in the grave underneath the Kremlin wall."

The official statement from the 22nd Congress (translations vary; this is from the Times article): "The further presence in the mausoleum of the sarcophagus with the coffin of J.V. Stalin shall be regarded as inexpedient because the serious violations by Stalin of the Leninist behests, the abuses of power, the mass reprisals against honest Soviet people and other actions during the period of the personality cult make it impossible to leave the coffin with his body in the V.I. Lenin Mausoleum."

Stalin's name was also removed from the outside of the mausoleum.

* Excerpt from "Digging up the Dead: A History of Notable American Reburials" (book by Michael G. Kammen): @
* "The speech Russia wants to forget" (about Khrushchev's 1956 speech; from BBC): @

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