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17 October 2005 -- Valentina Matviyenko, the influential governor of St. Petersburg, said today the body of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin should be buried.

Matviyenko, who is considered a close political ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said it was "completely obvious" the time had come to remove the embalmed Soviet icon from his Kremlin mausoleum.

But she said the issue must be handled "delicately and carefully" to avoid conflicts with older Russians for whom Lenin's reburial remains an emotional issue.

The fate of the Soviet leader's body has been a subject of political debate since the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

Lenin had asked to be buried next to his mother in a St. Petersburg cemetery. But his successor, Josef Stalin, overrode the wish.

(AP)
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