Just one in four Russians thinks the body of Vladimir Lenin should remain ensconced in its dark mausoleum on Red Square, according to a poll.
The new findings, released this week , have fuelled speculation that the Russian authorities may bury Lenin's body - a measure that remains politically charged 89 years after the Soviet leader's death.
The Levada Centre, an independent pollster, found that 25 per cent of those polled believed Lenin should remain in his mausoleum - a record low since the organisation first began asking the question in 1997. Some 34 per cent said Lenin should be buried in St Petersburg's Volkovsky cemetery, while 19 per cent wanted to see him buried in the Kremlin walls, alongside other Soviet luminaries.
Lenin's body, displayed in a glass case inside a mausoleum just outside the Kremlin's walls, has become more of a tourist curio than the site of pilgrimage it was during Soviet times. Yet Russia's Communists, the country's second-biggest party after United Russia, as well as their mainly elderly supporters, have fiercely opposed any discussion of moving the body of a man they still revere.
Moscow has been awash with rumours that Lenin's body would be moved secretly. A great white tarpaulin went over the mausoleum last month, ostensibly for a four-month renovation to the structure's foundation and back wall. Officials were forced to deny the white bubble was designed to hide secret goings-on inside.
"There are no plans about the mausoleum as of today," Vladimir Kozhin, head of the Kremlin's property management department, said after the covering went up. Kozhin has publicly supported the idea of moving Lenin's body in the past.