A Three-Piece Suit for Vladimir Lenin

One hundred years ago today (October 25 according to the old calendar), the October Revolution led by the Bolshevik party headed by Russian emigré Vladimir Ulyanov-Lenin forever changed the history of Russia. On that day Petrograd was suffering a stormy weather. In the morning at 10 am Lenin, wearing a three-piece suit, was writing his famous Appeal of the Military Revolutionary Committee, ending by the words “Long live the revolution of workers, soldiers and peasants!” Later, at 11 PM the first insurgents were entering the Winter Palace and at 5 AM the first socialist state was born.

Bolsheviks in front of the Smolny building in Petrograd. Photo credit: Süddeutscher Verlag

Lening is returning from the exile on April 16, 1917.

On April 16 (April 3 according to the old calendar), 1917 Lenin, accompanied by other Russian exiled revolutionaries, arrived in Petrograd at the Finland station. It was already night when he stepped out of the sealed train onto the platform of the railway station wearing, as he always preferred, a three-piece suit which later, October 25, could be the one “witnessing” the creation of the new social state.

Lenin (with umbrella) in Stockholm, 1917. Photo credit: Axel Malmström.

The suit, however, was bought a few days earlier in Stockholm at the famous department store called PUB and grounded by Paul Urban Bergström in 1882. It is said that Lenin had paid SEK 100 for the suit, what corresponds approximately SEK 3 000 today.

The department store PUB in Stockholm.

Lenin at the Mausoleum. October 1993. Photo credit: Eastblockworld.com

Since Lenin’s death in 1924, his preserved body is resting at the Mausoleum in Red Square in Moscow, where his suit is changed approximately each third year. Who tailors Lenin’s suits today is a secret the museum staff keep for themselves. However, they are still three-piece suits and always look stylish and prudent – just the way the revolutionary leader would have liked it.

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I believe when knowledge meets passion they can do a lot for a person, making the person pass it on to the people around one and this is how, I think, any changes in the world take place.