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Wednesday, Jan. 23, 1924
(Published Jan. 23, 1924, in the Washington Times-Herald)
(Note: Spelling of Lenin was "Lenine" as printed in the Times-Herald; Trotsky as printed was spelled "Trotzky.")
Silent Russian crowds mourn Lenin
MOSCOW, Jan. 23, 1924 (INS) - The body of Nicolai Lenin (Vladimir Ilyitch Ulynov), founder of the Soviet government, was brought to Moscow today from his country estate, while all Russia mourned with unprecedented demonstrations of grief over his death.
All night long the snow-filled, moon-bathed streets of this city were filled with silent crowds that moved back and forth. They were comrades of Lenin, workers and former soldiers in the Red army, who sobbed and whispered to one another. Never had Lenin's magnetic grip on the Russian people been more clearly demonstrated.
Red square, fronting the Kremlin, the revolutionary burial ground, was a scene of activity all night long.
Hundreds of workmen gathered there and worked feverishly removing the snow mound so that a grave could be dug, and space could be had for the immense throng which is expected Saturday when the burial takes place.
Friends of Leon Trotsky, people's commissar for war, said he would try to attend the funeral despite the illness which made it necessary for him to take a vacation.
Bands of students, wearing red jackets, paraded the streets bearing banners with the inscription: "Ilyitch is dead, but Lenin still lives."
The snow-filled roads to Gorky, the country suburb thirty miles from Moscow, where Lenin died, were crowded with slow-moving throngs. The villa at Gorky where Lenin spent the last of his life was besieged.
A red soldier stood at the doorway turning back the crowds that sought to enter to see the body before it was brought to this city to rest in state in the Kremlin until interment.
Early in the morning firemen were busy in the great trades union hall, draping it with black. A picture of Lenin was hung upon the wall with bands of crepe twined about it.
Lenin's body will lie in state in the same room where the bodies of Prince Kropotkin and other men of the royal family rested in the days of the old empire.
Trades Union hall in the old days was a royal palace. Instead of nobles, attired in brilliant uniforms, the place was filled today with workers in ragged jackets and coarse boots, and women with shawls pulled over their heads.
All places of amusement and schools in Moscow were closed. There was not even a tolling of bells. It was a city of dead silence.
Official newspapers appeared with borders of black and all printed long obituaries of the dead leader, extolling his principles, and expressing the hope that the Soviet government would carry them out.
Members of the council of people's commissaries (the red cabinet) conferred among themselves. It was announced that the government would continue the work it was carrying out when Lenin died.
The foreign office was flooded with cablegrams of condolence and sympathy.
"I did not know Lenin had so many friends aboard," remarked George Tchitcherin, peoples commissar for foreign affairs.
It was believed in some quarters that the passing of Lenin will tend to reunite the communist party which has broken up into two factions, the insurgents being headed by Leon Trotzky.
Moderates said they believed that "all differences among the communists will vanish at the grave of Lenin."
It was understood that those "vested with responsibility will vow at the grave to present a united front to the world to show there is no weakening of communism."
Among the candidates for Lenin's post as president of council of people's commissaries are Dzershinsky, Rikoff, Stalin and Kamanev, but it is likely that a triumvirate will carry on. This triumvirate will consist of Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev, three of the "strong men" of the communist "old guard."
Red troops were dispatched to escort the body of Lenin upon its arrival this afternoon.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International.