Vladimir Lenin died on 21 January 1924. Although relatively young, he was a sick man, having suffered three back-to-back strokes that left him half-paralysed and unable to speak.
His body was transported by train from his home in Gorki, south of Moscow, to the heart of the Russian capital. Over the next three days, an estimated 1 million people queued for hours in freezing weather to pay their respects.
His body was then taken to Red Square in a military procession, where it was embalmed in the vault of a mausoleum for permanent display. He has only been removed briefly during World War II for safety.
Throughout the century since his death, every Arab dignitary visiting Moscow was taken to Lenin’s mausoleum, and prominent Arabs were decorated with the Lenin Prize, created in 1925, discontinued in 1935 and then re-named the Stalin Prize before being re-dedicated to Lenin in 1956.
Among those honoured were President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and his army commander Abdul Hakim Amer. On Lenin’s birthday in 1970, Abdel Nasser had Lenin’s picture imprinted on an Egyptian stamp.
He had just returned from a visit to the Soviet Union in January 1970 and was relying heavily on the Soviets in his War of Attrition against Israel.
An identical stamp was issued in Syria. But it would be Lenin’s successor, Joseph Stalin, who actually brought the Soviet Union to the Arab World, and that only began after the Russian victory in World War II.