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Vietnam

Russian experts to help preserve Ho Chi Minh's body

Russian experts to help preserve Ho Chi Minh's body

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.

Four Russian experts will join a council set up with seven Vietnamese experts to study and preserve President Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body.

The council will start assessing the condition of the body next month. Then it will propose scientific measures "to preserve and maintain the absolute safety of President Ho Chi Minh’s body in the upcoming years," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said.

Vietnam is among several countries who have embalmed their leaders’ bodies, including Russia, China, and North Korea. The founder of the Soviet State, Vladimir Lenin, was embalmed and placed in the Moscow Mausoleum in 1924, according to the museum's website.

President Ho Chi Minh died on September 3, 1969. In the following days, his body was embalmed by Soviet Union experts and a special Vietnamese medical team under a joint agreement between the two governments. His body is placed in a glass coffin at a mausoleum named after him in Hanoi. Thousands visit the site annually.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, all Soviet scientists left Vietnam, making it difficult for authorities to preserve President Ho’s body, Cao Dinh Kiem, a mausoleum official told local media in April.

The Vietnamese government then negotiated with Russia to move to Vietnam the production of a chemical mixture needed for the preservation. The Russian scientists had kept the formula to themselves in the early days. It was only in 2004 that they agreed to produce the cocktail in Vietnam, which was also when Vietnam officially adopted the technology, Kiem said.

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