Tuesday, July 1, 2014

When Vladdy met Joey

The Finns thought it merited its own museum, but the lack of customers argues otherwise;
It was in Tampere in 1905 that Lenin first met Joseph Stalin, in a secret Bolshevik meeting which was held in the same rooms now occupied by the museum. Finland was then an autonomous part of the Russian empire.
Several decades later, the Finnish government backed the museum in an effort to foster better understanding of the Soviet Union, which most Finns viewed with rancor after the communist country had twice tried to conquer Finland without success during WW II.
For the government, the Lenin museum was a useful way to show the country wanted to normalize relations with the Soviet Union, and it was often included in the official programs of visits by high-ranking Soviets.
Living next door to a scarier than average bear tends to concentrate the mind. But the taxpayers of Finland are paying for something few wish to visit;
 Its budget in 2013 was 300,000 euros ($410,000), 85% of which was taxpayers' money.
It's never been a moneymaker. The museum's golden days were in the 1980s when Soviet visitors boosted attendance to between 20,000 to 25,000 a year. Last year the museum attracted some 10,000 visitors, roughly 40% of them foreigners.
It is trying with some success to add to its income through its gift shop, stocked with communist tchotchkes such as Che Guevara T-shirts and five-inch Lenin busts made of gypsum. Posters and post cards commemorating Lenin's 120th birthday as well as original Soviet political literature are also on the shelves. 
Maybe they should start selling Capital in the Twenty-First Century. It's an instant museum piece.

No comments:

Post a Comment