Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday criticised Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, accusing him of placing a “time bomb” under the state, and sharply denouncing brutal repressions by the Bolshevik government.
The harsh criticism of Lenin, who is still revered by communists and many others in Russia, is unusual for Mr. Putin, who in the past carefully weighed his comments about the nation’s history to avoid alienating some voters.
At the same time, he signalled that the government has no intention of taking Lenin’s body out of his Red Square tomb, warning against “any steps that would divide the society.”
Mr. Putin denounced Lenin and his government for brutally executing Russia’s last czar along with all his family and servants, killing thousands of priests and placing a “time bomb” under the Russian state by drawing administrative borders along ethnic lines.
Mr. Putin’s criticism of Lenin could be part of his attempts to justify Moscow’s policy in the Ukrainian crisis, but it also may reflect the Kremlin’s concern about possible separatist sentiments in some Russian provinces.
Mr. Putin was particularly critical of Lenin’s concept of a federative state with its entities having the right to secede, saying it heavily contributed to the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. “It was a time bomb under our state,” he said, adding that Lenin was wrong in a dispute with Josef Stalin who advocated a unitary state model.