Russia closes Lenin’s grave on Red Square amid fears of coronavirus

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MOSCOW, Mar 18 (Reuters) – Russia closed the grave of Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Lenin on Moscow’s Red Square, the Kremlin guard service, the latest tourist attraction to close for fear of the coronavirus, said on Wednesday.

The Federal Guard Service, which handles security for the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin, said the grave, which contains Lenin’s embalmed body, will be subjected to maintenance during the shutdown. He did not say when it will reopen.

The Kremlin necropolis, where Soviet leaders like Josef Stalin are buried, is part of the same tourist experience and will also be closed.

The Interfax news agency said the shutdown was linked to measures the Russian capital was taking to try to stop the spread of the coranavirus.

Russia formally abandoned communism when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, but Lenin’s grave remains popular with tourists, Russian communists, and visitors to Russian regions.

Many museums, including the Moscow Pushkin and the Tretyakov Gallery, as well as theaters like the Bolshoi, closed their doors this week as a precaution against the coronavirus.

Russia reported 147 cases of coronavirus so far, with no deaths recorded, fewer than many other European countries. But the number has increased markedly in recent days.

(Report by Tom Balmforth. Edited in Spanish by Lucila Sigal)

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