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22 January 2016

Vladimir Putin blames Lenin for Soviet collapse

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday slammed Vladimir Lenin, the Russian Bolshevik leader, for planting ideas that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Interfax news agency reports.

Putin's remarks, on the 92nd anniversary of Lenin's death, came during a meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education after a participant quoted a poem by Russian writer Boris Pasternak describing the revolutionary founder of the Soviet state as someone who had managed the flow of his thoughts to rule the country.

“Letting your rule be guided by thoughts is right, but only when that idea leads to the right results, not like it did with Vladimir Ilyich,” Putin responded. “In the end that idea led to the fall of the Soviet Union.”

"There were many such ideas as providing regions with autonomy and others," he said. "They planted an atomic bomb under the building that is called Russia which later exploded. We did not need a global revolution.”

Putin has in the past famously described the fall of the Soviet Union as the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century,” The Moscow Times notes.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov sought to soften the statement later, saying Putin's remarks "should not be reason for outrage, it's his personal viewpoint," Interfax reports.

Peskov also said the comments did not signal any change over periodic calls for the removal of Lenin's body from a mausoleum in Red Square.

After the fall of the Communist government and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there has been occasional outcry to remove the remains and bury them, most likely in St. Petersburg.