Reported in the News Letter on January 24, 1924: Flags at half mast after death of Lenin

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Further messages from Moscow state that the news of Lenin’s death spread like lightning through the city on Monday evening [Jan 21], and thousands of people assembled in silence to read the announcements posted in the newspaper offices.

When Kalinin first gave the news to the representatives of the Russian Congress of Soviets in the Grand Theatre many of those present joined in the dirge, “Eternal Memory”.

All flags in Moscow are at half mast.

Yesterday, Lenin’s remains were met at the Saratov and conveyed to the hall of the Trade Union House in the Theatre Square, where they will lie in State, the public being admitted to take a last farewell. Kalinin has issued an order organising a Funeral Committee, the president of which is Ozerjinsky, whose orders are compulsory on all citizens.

According to the latest reports, the formal question of Lenin’s successor as the head of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and the People’s Commissars is occupying the attention of the Communists in Moscow.

Neither Trotsky, Kameneff, nor Zinovieff is likely to be appointed because of their Jewish origin. Chicherin, who wields little real power in the Soviet Councils, enjoys much support, because he is known abroad, but he does not enjoy the necessary popularity among the Communist masses owing to his aristocratic origin and manner. It is considered probable that a political nonentity will be selected.

In New York, the newspapers published leading articles on the death of Lenin.

The “Times” said he was “a man of iron will” while the “World” said Lenin was “entitled to a place among the few leaders of first rank of our time”. But the “Tribune” remarked: “Lenin will take his place among the great wreckers of history.”