Thursday, March 03, 2005

Lenin in Zurich

Following on from this post here's another one.
The Soviet Union, near the end of its existence, at last determines to commemorate Lenin's time in Zurich. For those not acquainted with Soviet thought, this holds significance roughly approaching Moses' ordeal at Sinai.

The principal attraction of the exhibit is to be a painting, to be called "Lenin in Zurich," and a young painter is commissioned. Some older members of the party are troubled by the fact that the painter has not been proven to adhere closely to the ideals they themselves espouse, but they are reassured by younger colleagues who note, after all, that times have changed and fresh ideas are sometimes useful.

The commission is given a year in advance, and for the entire time the painter labors secretly. Finally comes the inaugural of the new holiday, and the painting is mounted, appropriately covered in imposing cloth, at its appointed spot in the Kremlin.

The Red Army Band plays, the Red Army Chorus sings, party officials speak, and at last the cloth is removed.

In stunned silence the spectators gaze upon the work, in which are to be seen Krupskaya (Mrs. Lenin) and Trotsky, together in bed, between them wearing no more than Trotsky's pince-nez.

Cries ring out, a rumble is heard, and nothing is clearer than the question:

"Where is Lenin?"

The painter steps forward and replies:

"In this painting, Lenin is in Zurich."

No comments: