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Orthodox Official Suggests Referendum On Lenin Burial

2 November 2005 -- A top Russian Orthodox Church official has suggested a referendum might be the best way to decide the fate of Vladimir Lenin's body.

Metropolitan Kirill said today that the question of whether the founder of the Soviet Union should be moved from his Red Square mausoleum and buried is "strongly politicized" and that care should be taken not to "inflame passions."

He said the issue might best be resolved via a referendum.

"From the point of view of Christians, Jews, or Muslims, any deceased person should be buried," Kirill said."This is a common religious tradition that goes back to the Old Testament, and there can be no other commentary on it. But as far as the political approach to this subject is concerned, more thought should be given to it. I think everything should be done to consolidate society, not to destroy this consolidation."

The comments by Kirill, who heads the Russian Church's foreign-relations department, were the latest from top Russian political and social figures on the question of burying Lenin's body.

In recent weeks, two government officials with close ties to President Vladimir Putin have suggested that Lenin be moved from his mausoleum.

Communists vehemently oppose any such move. Lenin himself said he wanted to be buried next to his mother in St. Petersburg.