Thursday, August 7, 2008

Window on Eurasia: If Lenin Had Not Died But Become a Muslim – a Bashkir Fantasy

Paul Goble

Vienna, August 7 – A Bashkir artist has prepared a photo gallery on the proposition that “Lenin is more living than all the living.” Rinat Voligamsi has imaged what would have happened had the Soviet leader not died in 1924 but increase left politics and lived the remainder of his life as a Muslim.
In Voligamsi’s imaginative version as reported by Interfax-Religion today, such a “renewed Lenin” whose family traced its roots to Bashkortostan would have joined forces with his businessman brother Sergei, made the haj to Mecca and even written a book entitled “Islam as the Last Hope of the Revolution” (
In the words of Interfax, Voligamsi’s fantasy did not end with that, however. During World War II, the artist imagined, the Muslim Lenin hid out in Latin America, consulted with Castro and Trotsky on various political, social and moral questions, and then ended his life in Zurich as an antiques dealer.
The Bashkir artist used “hundreds” of old photographs which he combined with the help of Photoshop in order to create what he describes as “real fantasies” in the latest if not the last of the many ways various peoples in the former Soviet empire have sought to make Lenin visually at least uniquely their own.

UPDATE: Some of the photographs of Lenin as a Muslim are available online at

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