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Russia Sells Lenin’s Body, 1991
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the Russian government struggled to mend its ailing economy, but the nation's financial situation remained dire. In November 1991, Forbes FYI, an American business magazine, revealed just how hopeless the Russian economic situation had become. It reported that the Russian government, desperate for foreign currency, had decided to sell the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin to the highest bidder. The body had been on public display in a Red Square mausoleum for decades. The bidding would start at $15 million.

ABC News and USA Today both repeated the story. Subsequently the editor of Forbes FYI revealed that it was a hoax. Russian Interior Minister Viktor Barrannikov denounced the joke as "an impudent lie."

Links and References
  • "True capitalism: Lenin for sale?" USA Today (November 6, 1991).
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.