At our meeting with him, now–Prime Minister Putin snapped back quite aggressively when asked why Lenin is still in his mausoleum in Red Square, asking a British colleague why there is still a monument to Cromwell outside parliament in London. One of my British colleagues reacted quite huffily to this but I must say that being half Irish and remembering Cromwell’s crimes against Ireland (which today would undoubtedly be labeled genocide) I saw a good deal of truth in this--except of course that Cromwell ruled Britain 350 years ago, and not 90 years ago.-- Anatol Lieven (via 3QD)
... Lenin continues to be difficult for Russia. It's impossible to know what would've happened had he met with a knock on the head en route to the Finland Station, but it seems likely there would've been no Bolshevik coup, and that a military regime would've taken over the reins at some point from the hopelessly fragmented, uncertain quasi-liberals. It's hard to imagine such a regime's being as bad as Stalin's, but it might have been worse than the Empire, which we tend to whitewash in retrospect. Russia was a police state under the tsars, and there is no reason to romanticize what the West knew quite well was a reactionary state.
Most Russians today probably believe, wrongly we think, that Lenin brought about the 1917 revolution. So when they think of Lenin, they think of the man who supposedy liberated them from tsarism. His death just six years after the October Revolution, and the several orders of magnitude by which Stalin incresed the terrors of Leninism, did a lot to encourage amnesia about those very real terrors.
So, given the number of things wrong with Russia today, I'm not sure I'd fault them for confusing Lenin with Washington.