Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Markets in Communists

For the perfect souvenir of that trip to Moscow:

Going to see the embalmed remains of Lenin, the leader of Russia's communist revolution, would be surreal at any time. But the sense of unreality was heightened by the presence of Lenin himself, peaked cap, pointed beard and all, wandering with his sometime colleague and successor Stalin, in a uniform festooned with self-awarded medals, alongside where we were queuing in Red Square.

Apparently, you can have yourself photographed with the two titans of history, in front of the walls of the Kremlin where they once ruled, for R100 (about $6).

This is modern Russia. Intensely protective of its history, including the communist era, but in its new capitalist persona, happy to exploit that history for a few bucks on the side.

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