Sent with warm greetings from some of last century's most cold-blooded rulers, they are not mementoes that many would choose to cherish. Now though, after decades of hiding them from the public eye, the Kremlin has finally unveiled the gifts that Soviet-era rulers received from admirers round the world.I'm willing to bet that the Vatican has some pretty unusual gifts stashed away somewhere too.
Visitors to the exhibition, which marks the 200th anniversary of the museum, are likely to be drawn to the many kitsch items. These include a lamp made from a dead armadillo (a gift from an anonymous Brazilian to Stalin in 1949), and portraits of Lenin made from human hair and tobacco leaves.
A cigarette case decorated with models of nuclear warheads was sent to Leonid Brezhnev for his 67th birthday in December 1973 by the head of design at the Soviet Air and Space Research and Industrial Centre. A portrait of Brezhnev done in sugar was a 70th birthday gift from Ukrainian sugar workers. A museum note reads: "To make a leader's portrait was a common way to express loyalty in labour."
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Russians bearing gifts...
From the Telegraph: