Lenin returns to Stockholm

More than ninety years have passed since Vladimir Lenin stopped off in Stockholm to buy an overcoat shortly before returning to Russia to start a revolution. David Bartal met up with him for a chat.

Lenin returns to Stockholm

It’s uncanny how small a town Stockholm is when you’ve lived here a few decades. Old friends suddenly just pop up out of nowhere. That’s what happened to me this morning, when I visited an On-Off home electronics boutique on Kungsgatan.

Imagine my surprise when I bumped into Vladimir I Lenin, a short, bald-headed gent wearing a boxy flannel suit that was long and bulky. His trousers were tapered, with two-inch cuffs, and he wore a white dress shirt with a funky silk tie, held in place by a collar pin.

Once a fierce revolutionary, “Volodja” is considered the father of Russian communism, and I recognized him instantly because of his trademark tailored goatee. He was tightly clutching a queue-number for On-Off customer service in his right hand. I started a conversation.

Me: “Vladimir! Long time, no see. What brings you to Stockholm?”

Vlad: “I came for the May 1st worker demonstration at Norra Bantorget. I’ve stashed a giant poster in a railway locker that says: ‘Down with the ministers-capitalists!’ That should shake up the Swedish bourgeoisie on Thursday.”

Me: “Yeah, sure, that ought to go over big. By the way, I once heard that you liked to hang out at the Royal Library (Kungliga Biblioteket) and read the international newspapers. Do you have any other special plans for Stockholm…perhaps a visit to the Gröna Lund amusement park?”

Vlad: “Well, its sort of hush-hush, but the truth is that I need some help with branding.”

Me: “Branding?“

Vlad: “Yes, I need a better image so that the masses can better appreciate the glories of communism. Why should that pip-squeak adventurer Che Guevera be so popular and revered around the world? What about me, Vladimir Iliich. I masterminded the glorious Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Shouldn’t that count for something? [sadly, stroking his beard] I need to freshen up my image.”

Me: “To be honest, Volodja, you’ve gotten a lot of bad press during the past 70 years or so…state-sponsored terrorism, mass arrests and executions…it’s hard to put a positive spin on some things.”

Vlad: “Well, you can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs. By the way, is this a good place to purchase a cheap gramophone?”

Me: “This shop and several of the other home electronics stores on this part of Kungsgatan carry stereos, CD:players, and Mp-3 players.”

Vlad: “Mp-3? Isn’t that the name of the artillery introduced by the German Army?”

Me: “No,the Mp-3 lets you download tunes from the Internet. What kind of sounds are into these days, Volodja?”

Vlad: “I’ve always been fond of the Appassionato Sonata by Beethoven, and I just heard some interesting music I like by some local young people, Looptroop. Are they widely respected?”

Me: “Their latest album kicks ass.”

Vlad: “Kicks…ass? I think that I have been away from the capitalist West too long.

“In fact, haven’t been back in Stockholm since 1917, shortly before I made my way to Petrograd for the October Revolution. I bought an overcoat at the PUB department store for 17 Swedish crowns, if I remember correctly; then I caught a night train to Haparanda and continued onward to Mother Russia.

Me: “Well, you can’t buy much for 17 crowns at PUB nowadays. The store has been transformed into an international lifestyle emporium; very upscale. You wouldn’t recognize the place. By the way, you look mighty sharp for a fellow who was embalmed for nearly a century.”

Vlad: “Thanks for the compliment. An advanced team of Russian scientists—the best in the world–took out my brain and made substantial improvements to my body. I discreetly escaped from the Mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square, and now I’m ready to make up for lost time.

“Watch out all you treacherous Mensheviks, Trotskyites and war-mongering Imperialists! The new –and-improved Lenin is back in town, and I’m ready to…how you say, kick some ass.”



Swedish woman dies in game of Russian roulette

A Swedish woman has died after playing what appeared to be a game of Russian roulette in western Sweden. The 23-year-old man who provided the weapon was charged for manslaughter on Thursday.

Swedish woman dies in game of Russian roulette

The incident occurred in mid-March in an apartment in Flatås, Gothenburg, where emergency service workers found the 48-year-old woman seriously injured.

The 23-year-old man is believed to have brought out a gun during an evening of drinking, loaded it with one live round, put it against his head and pulled the trigger.

“He did it to himself. Then he put the weapon on the table,” explained the man’s lawyer Karl Sjölander.

The woman then put the gun to her head, pulled the trigger, and shot herself in the head. She died of her injuries later in hospital.

During police interrogations, the man claimed that he had gone to the bathroom when he heard a click, and then a shot, according to the Metro newspaper.

On Thursday, the man was charged on the suspicion of manslaughter and aggravated weapon crimes. He denies the manslaughter charge but confessed to the weapon crimes and to narcotic crimes after police found cannabis in his home.

The man has been detained until the trial and is reportedly devastated by the turn of events, his lawyer said. The lawyer added, however, that there was evidence to suggest the woman was already suicidal.

TT/The Local/og

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