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Grave gamble: Digging deep for Lenin burial bets

Published time: November 29, 2011 10:49
Edited time: November 29, 2011 14:49
(RIA Novosti / Astapkovich)

(RIA Novosti / Astapkovich)

Russian bookmakers have come up with a new business idea, offering clients the chance to place a bet on whether the body of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin will finally be buried or not.

The idea appeared to be quite popular. In just four days since the offer has been put forward, over 2,000 gamblers have already gambled on the fate of the body of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution leader, writes Izvestia daily.

Over half of the betters who are in the game are banking on Lenin’s body being removed from the mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square in 2012, when the newly-elected State Duma gets down to work following the December poll.

Since the relocation of Lenin’s body can only approved by the parliament, a Russian bookmaker company offers citizens the chance to wager on a decision that the lower house will come up with.

All in all, there are six options. The deputies of the State Duma of the sixth convocation will be elected for terms of five years. Betters can try to guess which year of the five the lawmakers will give the thumbs up to the idea of burying Lenin. Or bet that the remains of the founder of the Soviet Union will be left where they are.

The prize pot grows depending on the year. Thus, betters who put their money on 2012 will increase their initial stakes tenfold, while players who pick 2016 can expect a return of 14-1. On the other hand, skeptics who doubt that Lenin will finally be allowed to rest in peace rather than in public will only get 40 extra rubles (about $ 1.30) on every 100 rubles ($3.20) they have staked. The last option though has been the least popular so far, with only 10 people risking their cash by choosing that possibility.

Many might be shocked by such a cynical idea to make a profit on the body of a dead person. However, the co-owner of the betting company, Oleg Zhuravlev, told Izvestia that he simply transferred his beliefs into business.

“This issue concerns me. I think that Lenin should be laid to rest in a humane way,” he said. Zhuravlev noted that he was wrong when making his prognosis about the number of bets on the revolution leader’s burial – it appeared to be much higher than he predicted.

The businessman is confident that his idea is socially important. “It is not only a way to draw attention to an important problem. But it is also an opportunity to vote with their money for a decision that they believe to be right,” he pointed out.

MPs, however, have slammed the idea as unethical and cynical. Communists and representatives of the Fair Russia party vowed to put an end to this outrageous business.

Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the State Duma Committee on Culture and a member of the majority United Russia faction was less emotional, noting that the matter should be addressed “calmly and seriously” while making a show of it is simply inappropriate.

The lawmaker added that he personally believes that the body of Vladimir Lenin must be buried and the mausoleum should become a museum.