After the Soviet Union moved from communism to democracy in 1991, there was a concerted effort to distance the new Russia from the old regime. How far this would go was anyone's guess at the time.
However, Forbes magazine got a real scoop: The Russian government was going to sell off Vladimir Ilich Ulanov's (Lenin's) embalmed body. In the true capitalist spirit, they were having a Going Out of Business Sale and asking a cool $15,000,000! Well, in rubles. Of course, it was in good condition, reflecting the finest in Soviet mortuary science. The original report did not specify if it would be delivered, or should be carried out by the happy customer.
This story was picked up by other news sources, such as USA Today, ABC's World News Tonight, the Associated Press, and others. This was an indication of the extent to which things had utterly changed.
The following day, Peter Jennings followed up the original sensational story with an update disclaiming the earlier reports: they were a hoax. Lenin was not for sale. It is not known whether there was any discussion of the possibility of him being rented for the weekend at any time.
The Old Boy still lies in state in Moscow, but with no price tag on his big toe.
4120 - Saturday jokes
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