Lenin's mausoleum was designed by Alexei Shchusev in 1924, during a period
in which the strength of the Russian Avant-Garde had not yet been decimated
by Stalin's enforced return to heroic realism and conservative classicism.
As a result, the founder of the Soviet state is blessed with a resting
place that is a rare masterpiece of modern architectural simplicity. Faced
with red granite (for Communism) and black labradorite (for mourning),
the mausoleum is essentially a pyramid composed of cubes. Although the
mausoleum has been stripped of the honor guard that once flanked its entrance,
announced plans to remove Lenin's body seem to have lost their impetus
in the last couple of years. The once lengthy line for admission has dropped
off considerably, and a visit today is accompanied by a rather bizarre
sense of having entered a place that has been forgotten by time. Lenin
(or at the least the alleged wax copy of his body) lies still in his crystal
casket, seemingly unaffected by the vast changes that have swept over Russia.
St. Basil's Cathedral