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Who tore Lenin a new one?

I don’t know much about history. (I don’t know much biology either, but that’s not the point of this column.)

I suppose I know a little about American history, but it’s a woefully inadequate amount. Random phrases such as “Hawley-Smoot Tariff,” “Tammany Hall” and “Millard Fillmore” pop into my head from time to time, but, to be honest, I don’t know what any of them mean. I think the Fillmore guy owned a couple of concert venues in San Francisco and New York. Beyond that, however, I couldn’t tell you the first thing about him.

Where I’m really an idiot, though, is in the realm of world history. I know that the Egyptians built pyramids, the Romans had a holy empire, Napoleon was short, Scots liked to paint their faces blue and fart at British soldiers, and some guy named Lenin did something in Russia way back when. That’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge.

Given that pathetic amount of information, I could be forgiven for thinking that Lenin was a revered figure in Russian history. I mean, they named a city after the man; it stands to reason that they must have liked him a little. (Yes, I realize that they renamed the same city after Stalin, who slaughtered millions of his own countrymen and was liked by nobody, but I’m guessing people just did that to avoid being killed by him.) Besides, Lenin’s body is still on public display in Moscow. The man died in 1924, for Pete’s sake. Clearly somebody must have been fond of him.

That’s why I found it odd earlier this week that someone decided to rip Lenin a new asshole. Not the real Lenin, mind you. As far as I know his creepy embalmed body is still safe in its tomb. No, the Lenin who got disfigured is a famous statue of the communist leader in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad and Stalingrad).

The statue, which commemorates Lenin’s return from exile in 1917, was the site of a bombing at 4:30 Wednesday morning that left a gaping hole a yard wide in Lenin’s rear end. If you’ve seen the pictures, you’ll agree with me that it appears like old Vladimir unleashed the mother of all flatulence and it just ate right through his overcoat.

As of this writing, authorities in Russia hadn’t made any arrests or named any suspects, so I decided to do a little research on this Lenin character to see if I could figure out who might have a motive to do such an act. Turns out it could have been any one of millions of people.

Lenin, it seems, was the target of two assassination attempts in 1918, the latter of which left him with a bullet in his neck that almost killed him. According to reports, the incident served to make Lenin more popular, but it also caused him to OK something called the “Red Terror,” a campaign of torture and executions that claimed the lives of somewhere between 12,733 and 280,000 people, depending on whose account you believe.

So right there, just with the descendants of the executed, you’ve got a whole mess of people who probably aren’t the biggest Lenin fans. Could any of these folks have been the culprit? Possibly, but I’m working on a more interesting theory.

One of the most infamous episodes of the early years of Lenin’s reign was the execution of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, as well as the family’s doctor, valet, lady in waiting and cook. One person was rumored to have survived the execution, however: Nicholas’ youngest daughter, Anastasia.

Scientists claim to have proven that Anastasia was, in fact, killed in 1918, but the remains they say were hers weren’t discovered until 2007, so I think those scientists were full of crap. I think Anastasia did survive, and I think she finally got her vengeance. They say that revenge is best served cold. Well, after 91 years Anastasia’s must have been delicious. But could a 107-year-old woman actually have climbed up to the statue and planted a bomb? Sure. Stranger things have happened.

There is one other possible explanation for Lenin’s new asshole, and I think it has some merit to it. According to this theory, there was no bomb. Lenin was secretly of Scottish descent, and he was just sending one last gargantuan fart in the direction of England. No word yet on whether a telltale stench swept across Scandinavia Wednesday morning on its way west.

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Todd Hartley

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04 2009

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