So we all know who Vladimir Lenin was, right?
· A Russian politician
· A communist revolutionary
· A mushroom?
On the 17th of may 1991, Sergey Sholokhov (a respected reporter) conducted an interview on the television program called Pyatoe Koleso (The Fifth Wheel), where he interviewed Sergey Kuryokhin, a Historian who revealed his findings that Vladimit Lenin was in actual fact a mushroom.
What do I mean by mushroom? Let me explain:
In the hour long interview, Sholokhov and Kuryokhin, spoke at length about the properties of mushrooms siting credible sources and and interviews with professionals in the field, all to ultimately prove that Lenin himself, was actually a mushroom.
Their argument in a nut shell, went a little something like this.
The Fly Agarics, is a poisonous mushroom, traditionally used by Shamans in Siberia for their hallucinogenic properties. During Lenin's long exile in Siberia, he regularly consumed these mushrooms and the ideas for his glorious communist revolution were actually all reenactments of hallucinogenic visions he had while high on these mushrooms.
In the interview they also claimed that The soviet Symbol, the hammer and the sickle, actually symbolises mushroom picking, because the hammer looked like a mushroom, and the sickle a knife.
And finally, my personal favorite part of the argument - Sholokhov and Kuryokhin claimed that the PERSONALITY of the Fly Agarics mushroom, ultimately took over Lenin’s personality – turning Lenin himself, into a mushroom.
In more or less their words, they said the following:
"If a human being were to take these mushrooms regularly and over a long period of time, their personality transforms into the personality of a mushroom. You see, Fly Agaric has its own unique personality, and basically what I want to say is that Lennon was a mushroom”
In the interview, the pair interviewed: a biologist, an international organisation called “Mushrooms for Peace”, and the inventor of a humane hallucinogenic bomb.
So, in case you haven't already smelt the bullshit from a mile away, none of this is true.
The interview itself was actually a satirical interview,
A spoof of the news stories at the time
and the historian being interviewed was actually an avant-guard soviet musician, who teamed up with a well known investigative journalist to test the credulity of the Russian viewers.
But the the scary thing about this story is that, although ultimately a hoax, an estimated
11 million 250 thousand people actually believed that Lenin was in some way or another – a mushroom!
In fact, The very next day a group of old party comrade actually went to head of communist ideology to ask her if Lenin was a Mushroom.
Was what they seeing on TV true?
To understand how this was even possible you must understand where Russia was as a country at this time.
The program was aired in May 1991 - communism had already died in many parts of eastern and the Soviet Union was mere months away from breaking apart.
The Russian people could bearly keep up with the flooding of information and media coming in - now that the strict censorship they were used to was lifting.
It’s sort of similar to what is happening today, older people who struggle to tell the difference between fake news and reality, because there is an inherent trust people seem to have in technology and media.
It’s a skill to be able to actually sift through the BS these days, but I digress…
In this case, all the Russian people knew was that the full truth has been kept from them, BUT they don’t know what the truth would look like either. So when a well known figure of the press starts claiming that Vladimir Lenin shares consciousness with mushrooms, they may not have believed it, but they also didn’t not believe it.
After all – it was on TV – it must be real!
In the end the “Lenin is a Mushroom” spoof interview became the most famous hoax in the history of Soviet Media And serves today as an example of just how confused many people became once the structures and certainties of the communist system began to collapse.
Some of you might be wondering if Sholokhov, a respected figure in journalism,
Got into trouble for this stint? Especially Since the communist party were still in charge?
Actually no! They were just really stoked on their ratings :)