Olga Ulyanova, 89, niece protective of Lenin’s legacy

Olga Ulyanova was one of Vladimir Lenin’s last known living relatives Olga Ulyanova was one of Vladimir Lenin’s last known living relatives
By Mansur Mirovalev
Associated Press / March 26, 2011

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MOSCOW — Olga Ulyanova, a niece of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin who wrote several books praising her uncle and family, has died in Moscow. She was 89.

Lenin never had any children, and Ms. Ulyanova was one of his last known living relatives, according to the government in the Ulyanovsk region, which was named after her family. She was the daughter of Dmitry Ulyanov, Lenin’s younger brother and one of the first members of the Bolshevik party.

Ms. Ulyanova, a chemist and a writer, died in Moscow yesterday, the regional government said. The cause of death was not given.

Her uncle, Vladimir Ulyanov, took Lenin as his nom-de-guerre in 1901 while in exile in Siberia. Sixteen years later, Lenin headed the Bolshevik revolution. He died in 1924, when Ms. Ulyanova was almost two.

After Lenin’s’ death, his embalmed body was placed in a mausoleum on Red Square, where it is open to the public.

Following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, many Soviet critics demanded the removal of his body from the mausoleum, seeing it as a symbol of the Communist past.

Ms. Ulyanova fiercely objected.

“Those who want his reburial are just malefactors,’’ she told the Interfax news agency in 2007.

She had fond memories growing up in the Kremlin with other Bolshevik leaders’ children and said she never abused her status as Lenin’s kin.

She was a professor of chemistry and physics at various universities and wrote extensively about her uncle.

“It was a mistake to turn him into an icon,’’ she told the Italian Panorama newspaper in 2008. “But ideological distortions, falsification of his theories were even a bigger mistake.’’

She also maintained that her uncle disapproved of the 1918 shooting of Russian Czar Nicholas II, his wife, and five children.

One of Lenin’s last living relatives is his great nephew Dmitry Ulyanov, an Orthodox priest in the western Russian city of Ivanovo who once demanded that his parish worship icons of Lenin and his successor Joseph Stalin, the Izvestia newspaper said.