What Killed Lenin: New Version
A group of neurologists from California have proposed a new version of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin’s immediate death.
Lenin was killed by a series of strokes at the relatively young age of 53. By 50, he had suffered from the degradation of cognitive abilities which is more common in older people. The first attack at 52 disabled the founder of the Soviet Union, and the third one killed him. This situation is rare in people of his age.
An autopsy found that blood vessels in his brain were extremely hardened and narrowed with accumulated fats and lime. This condition is called atherosclerosis and happens to everyone with age; however, with Lenin, it happened earlier and more rapidly than normal. Doctors said tapping his vessels with a metal pincer sounded as if they were made of stone.
Lenin never smoked and reportedly exercised. He hardly took any alcohol and wasn’t exposed to any other common risk factors. It was also unusual that his condition seemed to have affected his brain vessels selectively: some parts of his brain were only moderately affected. This uncertainty has generated several scandalous hypotheses.
A group of UCLA neurologists led by Harry Vinters proposed their own hypothesis, noting the recently discovered link between the NT5E gene mutations and selective atherosclerosis in leg vessels.
Vinters and his colleagues believe that Lenin probably had a genetic problem which in his case affected the brain. His father, as well as his brothers and sisters probably had cardiovascular disorders. Moreover, the Soviet leader's father died of similar causes at the age of 54. However, the scientists admit that a genetic disorder is only a hypothesis.
Until recently, Lenin’s neural problems were often explained by syphilis, but there was no direct proof of that without access to archive details. He was actually treated for syphilis during his last years, but that could have been due to an erroneous diagnosis.
Hollande Forgives Fugitive Depardieu over a Glass of Wine with Putin
French President François Hollande, currently on an official visit to Russia, has forgiven tax fugitive Gerard Depardieu and refrained from reproaching President Vladimir Putin, who granted the French actor Russian citizenship.
Speaking in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station the day before, he said he was sure that “the Russian president had made a choice that does not damage our interests. If Gerard has decided to leave his country, let him. If he is fond of Russia and Russia is fond of Depardieu, that's understandable.” It will be recalled that earlier Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called his decision “rather pitiful.”
President Hollande sought to avoid sensitive issues like human rights in Russia, on which he commented by saying, “It is not for me to judge.” Speaking about the Russian elections, Vladimir Putin claimed that campaigning was heated in every country and that nothing out of the ordinary had happened in Russia. “We made a fundamental choice in favor of democracy way back in the 1990s and have no intention of leaving this path,” he said.
The French president did not criticize Russia’s investment climate: “There are certain obstacles in every country.” Commenting on the proposed visa-free regime with the EU, a bee in Vladimir Putin’s bonnet, he said: “I hope that one day the visa regime will be as simple as possible.”
Asked by journalists if his personal relations with François Hollande had become any warmer after their first (less than cordial) meeting in Paris in June 2012, Putin replied jokingly: “Come closer and feel for yourself.” “It’s easy to have truck with Putin because he just comes right out and says what he thinks,” said the French president in reply.
The two leaders found points of common interest even on thorny issues like Syria. (Unlike Europe and the United States, Russia insists on negotiations and military non-intervention.) The methods they use could be different but they are both committed to preventing Syria’s disintegration and the ensuing chaos. “It seems to me that this issue can’t be resolved without a bottle of vodka, and not just a bottle of good wine,” said Putin. “It’s better to do it over a bottle of port,” quipped Hollande.
Speaker Valentina Matviyenko off to Islamabad
A diplomatically risky flight by Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko from India to Pakistan (politicians seldom use this route since relations between these countries are far from idyllic) began in a befitting enough manner – with thunder, lightning and a small flood in Islamabad. Which, however, failed to impress the Pakistanis, who are used to troubles, as they stood in long lines outside gas stations (there is an ongoing energy crisis in the country).
“We are happy that you have come after all,” Pakistani senators in picturesque turbans said to the Russian delegation as they chanted chapters from the Koran.
Russia and Pakistan have thoroughly prepared for the visit – three days before Matviyenko’s arrival the two countries signed an agreement to upgrade the iron and steel mill in Karachi. Some thought was also given to reopening the Russian cultural center in Islamabad. It was also found that there are a further 40 facilities in Pakistan of interest to Russian business.
These are mostly plants built with Soviet assistance which no-one is anxious to raise from the ruins. Since trade between Russia and Pakistan is today small – a mere $500 million a year – the two sides decided to do something about the situation. Islamabad is seeking closer ties with Russia as it tries to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes Russia, China and the Central Asian republics. And not even to spite New Delhi.
It is simply the case that the outlook here is disastrous. Everyone is awaiting the inevitable catastrophe – a US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. Matviyenko said during her visit: “We are worried about what is happening in Afghanistan, it could lead to its disintegration.”
“The Taliban are eager to see this happen. Soviet history is repeating itself – Karzai who controls perhaps only Kabul may not last long,” Pakistanis say on the meeting’s sidelines. “Which means that the Taliban could enter Islamabad. It is rumored the Americans have a plan to hijack nuclear weapons from Pakistan to prevent them falling into terrorist hands.”
That is perhaps why the Pakistanis, mistrustful of Washington (the Americans are despised here, but tolerated for their money), are timidly inviting Moscow to share its experience of fighting terrorists. They have even suggested that the Russian senators discuss sending commando units from Dagestan and Chechnya to control the Taliban. Moscow will, of course, think long and hard before it takes part in this killing spree. But on the other hand, Russia also has a vital interest to protect – defending its southern underbelly from drug traffickers and terrorists.
RIA Novosti is not responsible for the content of outside sources.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: The First Woman in Space, Valentina Tereshkova
Infographics: Group of Eight: Countries and Permanent Members
Cartoons: Polar Explorer Day
News that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would resign in order to run for the mayoral election in September came as quite a shock. Sobyanin’s political potential is fairly dubious, not to mention his approval ratings. He has not finished many of the projects he initiated and the electoral effect from these projects is expected to come a bit later than September 2013. Sobyanin’s opponents were not entirely unprepared for this blitzkrieg.