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Fads, Fashion and Foolery for 1994

January 04, 1994|RICHARD BOUDREAUX

Moscow — STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: If history cooks up another of its convenient milestones, two men whose lives and deaths were inextricably linked in the stormy history of 20th-Century Russia--Czar Nicholas II and Vladimir I. Lenin--may both be given a decent burial this year.

Since last July, when scientists proved (more or less) a bunch of bones found in a shallow grave in the woods of western Siberia to be those of the doomed Last Czar and at least part of his family, royal descendants and other White Russian nobility have urged authorities to give them a decent burial.

When and if a government commission formed to look into the matter decides the scientists are right--and discussions at the commission are less than peaceful--Czar Nicholas and his family will be entombed alongside their ancestors in St. Petersburg's St. Peter and Paul fortress.

The pickled body of Lenin, who emerged in 1917 as Czar Nicholas' chief rival and the next year became his indirect executioner, has been the focus for obligatory Communist pilgrimages to Red Square for decades. Now, influential voices from the mayor of Moscow to officials of the Russian Orthodox Church say that he, too, should be interred in St. Petersburg, the city that for a relatively brief but unforgettable spell--as Leningrad--was named after him, and where his mother is already buried.

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