We went with a tour, so we went from the center of Moscow to the estate by van. That was interesting it itself because I go around by Metro normally. Which means I pop up at various points above ground and so don't often see how these places connect with one another. I found I knew most of the route, actually. I had just never seen it from that perspective.
A confession: I am not particularly well-versed in Russian history. Lennon is a lot more interesting to me than Lenin. I happen to live here, however, and, love him or hate him, to say that Lenin was an extremely important character in modern history in an understatement. It seemed foolish not to take the opportunity to learn a little something.
The estate at Gorki Leninskiye is a perfectly preserved snapshot of a place Lenin lived and, ultimately, died. In addition, his apartment/offices in the Kremlin have been meticulously recreated in a separate building on the grounds. While the layout and some of the room proportions are not the same as they were in the Kremlin, every item is just as it was. They even took the oak paneling from the conference rooms.
As usual, I have a lousy little camera that is profoundly limiting. Glass in front of many items made for reflections, glare and unusable pictures. But don't be discouraged: the estate is definately worth a visit.
The estate is comprised of three main houses. Lenin and his wife and sister lived in the more modest one at first.
Below is Lenin's first bedroom. He worked at the small desk. The wolf was a gift.
But eventually he had to move to the bigger, more elegant house because his strokes made climbing the stairs in this building difficult.
Here is the bigger house. It is definately posher, but not grotesquely over-the-top.
One of the attractive features about this place was that in the 1920s it had a telephone.
The letters on the desk are notes Lenin wrote to the phone company complaining about problems with the service.
Part of Lenin's personal library. If you can read the Cyrillic, you might see that this shelf holds his copies of works by Marx and Engels.
They had a movie projector and used to watch movies. The films were silent, so his sister would accompany on the piano.
The curtains were inspired by Napoleon's flags at the battle of Borodino. The bees symbolize work, power, and wealth. I think they, like almost everything in this house, were remnants of the previous owners and not personal possessions of Lenin.
In fact, Stalin thought this painting of a Russian cemetery was gloomy and inappropriate to have around a convalescent. But Lenin did not want money spent to change anything on his behalf. So the painting stayed put.
This mechanical wheelchair was a gift to Lenin by some factory workers. However, he never used it because it required two hands to steer, and his strokes profoundly impaired his use of his right hand.
He did use this wheelchair. There are many photos of him in this chair on the estate grounds.
He had to have the hand railing on the stairs modified to fit his crippled right hand. I'm not sure why the steps in the other house were a bigger problem (they did seem steeper, as I recall).
This was his bedroom in the big house. He died here in 1924 at 6:50 p.m. All of the clocks were stopped and still show that time.
You can see his walking stick leaning against the table.
The death mask was sort of macabre. You can see how his right hand was unnaturally clenched by the strokes.
Perhaps the best part was in the garage . . .
His specially customized, snow-ready Rolls Royce! How cool is that? The estate guide told us it is still in working order, although the hood ornament is a replacement after the original was stolen during a tour of school children during the 1990s.
P.S. The Spouse sent me this today.