Sunday, 31 August 2014

The world's most inaccessible Lenin (Lenin in the Antarctic)

Probably the most inaccessible Lenin is at the appropriately named Southern Pole of Inaccessibility in the Antarctic. This is from the wikipedia account of the place with info on the Lenin statue there. 

The southern pole of inaccessibility is far more remote and difficult to reach than the geographic South Pole. On 14 December 1958, the 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition for International Geophysical Year research work, led by Yevgeny Tolstikov, established the temporary Pole of Inaccessibility Station (Polyus Nedostupnosti) at 82°06′S 54°58′E. A second Russian team returned there in 1967. Today, a building still remains at this location, marked by a bust of Vladimir Lenin that faces towards Moscow, and protected as a historical site. Inside the building, there is a golden visitors' book for those who make it to the site to sign.
On 4 December 2006, Team N2i, consisting of Henry Cookson, Rupert Longsdon, Rory Sweet and Paul Landry, embarked on an expedition to be the first to reach the historic pole of inaccessibility location without direct mechanical assistance, using a combination of traditional man hauling and kite skiing. The team reached the old abandoned station on 20 January 2007, rediscovering the forgotten statue of Lenin left there by the Soviets some 48 years previously. The explorers were picked up from the spot by a plane from Vostok base to Progress Base and taken back to Cape Town on the Akademik Fyodorov, a Russian polar research vessel. The team found that only the bust on top of the building remained visible; the rest was buried under the snow.

Losing the Head of Lenin.

It appears that Lenin's head has been lost in Berlin or at least that is what the German authorities want prospective art curators to believe according to a report last week in the British Guardian (and other sources). Here is most of the Guardian's report from August 21st:

More than two decades after it was torn down, Berlin authorities have admitted the giant monument may be lost in storage.
Curators of an exhibition about the German capital's monuments had proposed to including the Russian revolutionary's 1.7-metre (5.6ft) head in their show, scheduled for spring 2015. Between 1970 and 1991, the statue had stood on Lenin Square in Berlin's Friedrichshain district. After its removal, it was cut into 129 pieces and buried in a pit in Köpenick.
But last week the Berlin senate rejected the curators' proposal to excavate Lenin's head, arguing that they didn't know its precise location and would therefore have to dig up the entire pit, long overgrown with shrubs and trees: too costly an undertaking for the city's cash-strapped authorities.
Politicians and historians have criticised the decision. Members of the leftwing Die Linke went as far as suggesting that the mayor, Klaus Wowereit, was ideologically motivated: "They are even still scared of that stupid old head," the MP Wolfgang Brauer told the Taz newspaper.
A US film-maker has offered his services to help locate the misplaced head: in 1994, Rick Minnich had dug his way to it as part of his documentary The Book of Lenins. "Everything in Germany is documented," he told Berliner Zeitung, "so there are bound to be documents in this case too."
The exhibition curator, Andrea Theissen, also claims to be in possession of a map showing the head's precise location. "The Lenin statue is an important document to show how a united Germany has dealt with the history of the GDR," she told the Guardian.
So far, the senate has not shown any interest in Theissen's map, but she said she had not given up hope that the Russian revolutionary could still become the most famous exhibit in her show, which will display more than 100 original Berlin monuments from the 18th century to the fall of the Wall.
If the senate changes its mind, it will have to do so within the next month. The pit where the statue has been dug up is home to a protected species of lizard that goes into hibernation in October, preventing any excavation work from being carried out in time for the exhibition.
As a backup, the curators might want to consider locating a prop from Good Bye Lenin: the statue shown in the film is a bronze copy, not the original made of granite. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Lenin as Lesbian.

Lenin in the film (Tan de Repente) Suddenly is a female character as is Mao...
Tan de repente (Suddenly) is a 2002 Argentine and Dutch black-and-white comedy drama film directed by Diego Lerman and written by Lerman, María Meira, and Eloisa Solaas, based on the novel La prueba, written by César Aira. The drama features Tatiana Saphir, Carla Crespo, Veronica Hassan, among others.
A young, naive clerk at a lingerie store learns about love and her own identity.
The film begins as Marcia (Tatiana Saphir), a frumpy and overweight salesgirl who seems to lead a banal and dreary existence, goes to work one day. As she walks she catches the eye of a feisty butch punk woman named Mao (Carla Crespo) who tells Marcia she wants to seduce her. Marcia tells Mao that she's not a lesbian, but Mao is relentless. With the help of her friend Lenin (Veronica Hassan), Mao manages to talk Marcia into getting into a cab that the two lesbian women then immediately car-jack.
They take Marcia to the coast to see the ocean—which she has never seen before—before ending up at Lenin's Aunt Blanca's (Beatriz Thibaudin) house. Lenin has not seen Aunt Blanca for nine years, and they discover Blanca rents out rooms to two lodgers. Blanca proves fascinating to Lenin and the two begin redeveloping a connection. Lenin confesses that she has not spoken to her mother in three years.
When they are alone Mao makes love to Marcia, then leaves her alone. We learn that Marcia is quite lonely since her boyfriend recently dumped her. She feels abandoned by everyone.
Marcia, Mao, Lenin, and Blanca all affect each other in unexpected ways, and as a consequence, develop new relationships that each of the women had lacked in their lives.

The Star Trek, Shakesperean Lenin : Patrick Stewart in "Fall of Eagles".

One of the few English actors to play Lenin was Patrick Stewart in the Sixth episode of the fourteen part television drama Fall of Eagles. Better known for his Shakespearean roles in the theatre and his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek and Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men, Stewart appears in this episode as Lenin doing morning press-ups around the three minute mark:

Some stills  of Patrick Stewart as Lenin: 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Let them eat Lenin or having your own Lenin and eating him or simply Petit Bourgeois Cannibalism

Large scale Lenin cake created by artist Yuri Shabelnikov in the late 1990s.

From a CNN report:
A raised knife plunges into the chest of Vladimir Lenin moves upward through his neck and into his cheek. Sound gory? Actually, it was a piece of cake.
That is, a cake made to look like Lenin, the Russian revolutionary who died in 1924.
His embalmed body lies in a Moscow museum. As for the cake, it's long gone -- gobbled up by hungry Russians before you could say "Bolshevik."
A team of chefs cooked up the multi-layered Communist-inspired creation, which measured more than 2 meters (6 feet) long and weighed over 50 kilograms (110 pounds).

A Lenin cupcake:

Koudelka's Lenin

Some Lenin statue photos by Koudelka taken when Theo Anghelopolous was shooting Ulysses Gaze.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Lenin's Interview with the Guardian (1919)

This interview was possibly one of the first interviews that Lenin gave to the Guardian - he was also interviewed by Arthur Ransome for the Guardian in 1922 and with Michael Farbman a month earlier.  In 1919 the interviewer was W.T.Goode.

An interview with Lenin

Thursday 4 December 1919
The Guardian

The interview with Lenin had been a matter of some difficulty to arrange; not because he is unapproachable - he goes about with as little external trappings or precautions as myself - but because his time is so precious. He, even more than the other Commissaries, is continuously at work. But at last I had secured a free moment and drove from my room, across the city, to one of the gates of the Kremlin.

I had taken the precaution at the beginning of my stay to secure a pass that set me free from any possible molestation from officials or police, and this gave me admission to the Kremlin enclosure.

Entrance to the Kremlin is naturally guarded; it is the seat of the Executive Government; but the formalities are no more than have to be observed at Buckingham Palace or the House of Commons. A small wooden office beyond the bridge, where a civilian grants passes, and a few soldiers, ordinary Russian soldiers, one of whom receives and verifies the pass, were all there was to be seen at this entrance.

It is always being said that Lenin is guarded by Chinese. There were no Chinese here. I entered, mounted the hill, and drove across to the building where Lenin lives, in the direction of the large platform where formerly stood the Alexander statue, now removed. At the foot of the staircase were two more soldiers, Russian youths, but still no Chinese. I went up by a lift to the top floor, where I found two other young Russian soldiers, but no Chinese, nor in any of the three visits which I paid to the Kremlin did I see any.

I hung up my hat and coat in the ante-chamber, passed through a room, in which clerks were at work and entered the room in which the Executive Committee of the Council of People's Commissaries holds its meetings - in other words, the Council Chamber of the Cabinet of the Soviet Republic.

I had kept my appointment strictly to time, and my companion passed on (rooms in Russia are always en suite) to let Lenin know that I had arrived. I then followed into the room in which Lenin works and waited a minute for his coming. Here let me say that there is no magnificence about this suite of rooms. They are well and solidly furnished; the Council Chamber is admirably arranged for its purpose, but everything is simple, and there is an atmosphere of hard work about everything.

Of the meretricious splendour I had heard so much there is not a trace. I had but the time to make these observations, mentally, when Lenin entered the room. He is a man of middle height, about fifty years old, active, and well proportioned. His features at first sight seem to have a slight Chinese cast, and his hair and pointed beard have a ruddy brown tinge. The head is well domed, and his brow broad and well raised. He has a pleasant expression in talking, and indeed his manner can be described as distinctly prepossessing.

He speaks clearly in a well-modulated voice, and throughout the interview he never hesitated or betrayed the slightest confusion. Indeed, the one clearly cut impression he left on me was that here was a clear, cold brain, a man absolutely master of himself and of his subject, expressing himself with a lucidity that was as startling as it was refreshing. My companion had seated himself on the other side of the table to act as interpreter in case of need; he was not wanted.

After a word of introduction I asked what I should speak, French or German. He replied that if I did not object he would prefer to speak English, and that if I would only speak clearly and slowly he would be able to follow everything. I agreed, and he was as good as his word, for only once during the three-quarters of an hour that the meeting lasted did he stumble at a word, and then only for an instant; he had seized my meaning almost immediately.

I ought to state here that the thought of this interview had engaged me from the moment I had entered Russia. There were so many things I wanted to know, scores of questions occurred to me, and to secure the answers I longed to have would have required a discursive talk of hours had I begun my task with this interview. But by leaving it to the last my month's work had brought the answer to many of the questions, and others had been settled by a radiographic interview submitted from Lyons by a combination of American journalists.

It behoved me therefore to utilise to the best advantage the time rigidly apportioned- to me, wedged in between two important meetings. I had therefore reduced all my curiosity to three questions, to which the authoritative answers could be given only by Lenin himself, the head of the Government of the Soviet Republic.

He knew quite well who I was; he did know what I wanted. There could therefore be no question of preparation so far as he was concerned. I had spoken of my questions to only one man, the Commissary who accompanied me, and he became very depressed, and gave it as his opinion that Lenin would not answer them.

To his unfeigned astonishment the questions were answered promptly, simply, and decisively, and when the interview was ended my companion naively expressed his wonderment. The guidance of the interview was left to me. I began at once. I wanted to know how far the proposals which Mr. Bullitt took to the Conference at Paris still held good. Lenin replied that they still held good, with such modifications as the changing military situation might indicate. Later he added that in the agreement with Bullitt it had been stated that the changing military position might bring in alterations.

Continuing, he said that Bullitt was unable to understand the strength of British and American capitalism, but that if Bullitt were President of the United States peace would soon be made. Then I took up again the thread by asking what was the attitude of the Soviet Republic to the small nations who had split off the Russian Empire and had proclaimed their independence. He replied that Finland's independence had been recognised in November 1917; that he (Lenin) had personally handed to Swinhufvud, then head of the Finnish Republic, the paper on which this recognition was officially stated; that the Soviet Republic had announced sometime previously that no soldiers of the Soviet Republic would cross the frontier with arms in their hands; that the Soviet Republic had decided to create a neutral strip or zone between their territory and Esthonia, and would declare this publicly; that it was one of their principles to recognise the independence of all small nations, and that finally they had just recognised the independence of the Bashkir Republic - and, he added, the Bashkirs are a weak and backward people.

For the third time I took up the questioning asking what guarantees could be offered against official propaganda among the Western peoples, if by any chance relations with the Soviet Republic were opened. His reply was that they had declared to Bullitt that they were ready to sign an agreement not to make official propaganda. As a Government they were ready to undertake that no official propaganda should take place. If private persons undertook propaganda they would do it at their own risk and be amenable to the laws of the country in which they acted.

Russia has no laws, he said, against propaganda by British people. England has such laws; therefore Russia is the more liberal-minded. They would permit, he said, the British, or French, or American Government to carry on propaganda of their own. He cried out against the Defence of the Realm Act, and as for freedom of the Press in France, he declared that he had just been reading Henry Barbusse's novel Clarte, in which were two censored patches.

'They censor novels in free, democratic France!' I asked if he had any general statement to make, upon which he replied that the most important thing for him to say was that the Soviet system is the best, and that English workers and agricultural labourers would accept it if they knew it. He hoped that after peace the British Government would not prohibit the publication of the Soviet Constitution. That, morally, the Soviet system is even now victorious, and that the proof of the statement is seen in the persecution of Soviet literature in free, democratic countries.

My allotted time had expired and, knowing that he was needed elsewhere, I rose and thanked him, and, making my way back through Council Chamber and clerks' room to the stair and courtyard, where were the young Russian guards, I picked up my droshky and drove back across Moscow to my room to think over my meeting with Vladimir Ulianoff.

An Electrofunk Lenin

Clips from Sergei Yutkevich's film 'Lenin in Paris' set to music by the band 'Elefunk' starring the well-known Russian writer Zakhar Prilepin.