Given this long history, it’s hardly surprising that the Kremlin is associated with many myths and legends. One of these suggests the site is haunted.
The most famous ghost stories about the Kremlin concern three leaders: Tsar Ivan the Terrible, who reigned Russia in the 16th century; Vladimir Lenin, who led the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution; and the notorious Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Some people say Ivan’s shadow can be seen and his footsteps heard in Kremlin’s Ivan the Great Bell Tower. There are also reports that his spirit visited the last tsar, Nikolay II and his wife, on the night before Nikolay’s coronation. This was viewed in some quarters as an omen that the Romanov royal dynasty would collapse.
Lenin is also thought to be a frequent ‘guest’ in the Kremlin. According to some historians, Lenin’s ghost was first seen by a security chief in October 1923, even though he was still alive at that time (he died three months later). The official wondered why Lenin came with no guards accompanying him, but he was told on the phone that in fact Vladimir Ilich was in Gorky at that moment.
Later, other witnesses came forward who saw Lenin in the Kremlin that night. And discrepancies in their accounts have only added to the mystery. Lenin was very ill at the time and couldn’t walk without a stick and moved very slowly, but those who claimed they saw him in the Kremlin that night said he had no stick and was walking very quickly.
But Joseph Stalin remains the most frequently seen Kremlin ‘shade’. Some say his ghost wants to ‘establish order’ in the country, and thus usually appears when Russia is hit by deepest crises. One of the signs that Stalin is stalking the Kremlin, legend has it, is when the room suddenly gets cold.
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