MOSCOW, June 22 (UPI) -- Eighty years after his death, three Israeli doctors have refueled the debate Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin died of syphilis, the New York Times said.
Rumors he had the disease were circulating even before he died, but in modern post-Soviet Russia, officials still dismiss the theory.
But in their article, the physicians make their "probable diagnosis" Lenin contracted the sexually transmitted disease in Europe years before he led the October Revolution in 1917.
"If you take Lenin's case and you cancel Lenin's name on the file and you give it to a neurologist who is an expert in infectious disease, the expert will say, 'Syphilis,'" said Dr. Vladimir Lerner, head of the psychiatry department at the Be'er Sheva Mental Health Center in Israel and an author of the study.
Lenin was 53 when he died after battling an erratic but progressively debilitating illness. His death has been variously attributed to cerebral hemorrhage, stroke, syphilis, exhaustion or cerebral arteriosclerosis, which killed his father.
The trio's report appears this month in The European Journal of Neurology.