Is this the real reason why Russia deviated temporarily onto the capitalist path in 1991?

(Voice: What about icons; there’s a demand for icons). As for icons, someone has just given a reminder that the peasants are asking for icons. I think that we should not follow the example of the capitalist countries and put vodka and other intoxicants on the market, because, profitable though they are, they will lead us back to capitalism and not forward to communism; but there is no such danger in pomade (laughter).

Lenin, Collected Works, volume 32, p. 426.

As some of you know, I have just spent a month in China, teaching a seminar on Marxism and Religion at Fudan University. But I also discovered some elements of a more quirky China:

On arrival, I paid my respects to Mao:

In fact, I had a unique Chinese experience: ‘I’ll meet you by Chairman Mao’s statue’ is something you can say only in China in a matter-of-fact way.

But I also assisted a mythical creature at the Imperial Tombs in Nanjing with a particularly troublesome snotball:

Paid a visit to …

Where I met a member of the ‘old’ left:

Back at Fudan I defended Lenin:

For which I was given a bottle of Lenin vodka (thanks Sergey):

But I also enjoyed paddling along a canal:

Meandering along the local streets where I lived:

And singing revolutionary songs in Lu Xun park:

All of which made me leap for joy: