Between 1924 and the fall of communism in 1991, many millions of visitors paid their respects to the embalmed body of Lenin in Red Square.
This is the story of the mausoleum, told by the only survivor of the family that plunged the founder of the Soviet Union into a solution of glycerine and potassium acetate to preserve him forever.
Alongside the story of the laboratory and its close ties with Stalin, Ilya Zbarsky also tells his family's story.
His father's responsibility for Lenin's mummification brought him scientific repute and political prominence but he lived in fear, initially of the body deteriorating, later of the regime.
This eye-witness account throws a mordant and original light on a surreal aspect of the Soviet regime at a moment at which the future of Lenin's corpse is finally a matter of debate.