The Soviet Union founder, who died in 1924, would have turned 145 this week, and his mausoleum closed while the preservation team made improvements to his embalmed body.
Their primary goal is maintaining the body's look and feel rather than its original material, Scientific American notes: "They have to substitute occasional parts of skin and flesh with plastics and other materials, so in terms of the original biological matter, the body is less and less of what it used to be," says an expert.
That sets the work apart from processes like mummification, he notes, "where the focus was on preserving the original matter while the form of the body changes." Now, in addition to the skin replacements, Lenin has false eyelashes, and instead of skin fat, researchers have molded a combination of chemicals to keep his skin looking the same.
The body is re-embalmed using a bath of chemicals in alternate years. Lenin has kept scientists busy: During the period between the 1950s and 1980s, as many as 200 experts had jobs maintaining the body, Scientific American notes.
When you look at the picture of how lifelike Lenin looks, it’s astonishing.
But here’s a thought: It takes 200 experts to keep Lenin looking lifelike, yet it is only a matter of time before they lose that battle. On the other hand, God infuses actual life into not one, but every single one of us without any help at all.
Thanks to science, Vladimir Lenin looks great at 145. But thanks to God, you look better!
“I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40).