The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin will not take part in the funeral of the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The following information was shared by presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Thursday.
Peskov said, “Unfortunately, the president’s work schedule will not allow him to attend.”
Instead, Putin paid a visit on Thursday to the hospital where Gorbachev passed away two days earlier at 91 years old and placed flowers in Moscow’s House of Unions where Gorbachev is currently lying in the state.
Meanwhile, the funeral ceremony of Gorbachev, who led the Soviet Union via its final years, will take place in Moscow on Saturday & have “elements” of a state funeral including a guard of honour, as per Peskov.
The ceremony will take place in the House of Unions’ Hall of Columns, which has a history of being used for the funeral services of top officials — like Josef Stalin in 1953.
Following the ceremony, Gorbachev will be buried in Russia’s Novodevichy Cemetery along with his wife, Raisa. Russia’s first post-Soviet President, Boris Yeltsin, was also laid to rest in Novodevichy Cementery.
While Gorbachev is revered by majority in the West as the leader who helped in ending the Cold War, the majority of Russians are more ambiguous about his legacy, in part due to the hardship & poverty of the 1990s.
Putin has had complicated ties with Gorbachev, who was in charge of the Soviet as it fell apart, an event which Putin referred to as “the biggest geopolitical tragedy of the century.”
Likewise, Gorbachev alternated between admiration & criticism of Putin.
From the day since Putin came to power more than 20 years ago, Gorbachev described Putin as “intelligent, serious, reserved and well-organized.”
While fraud-tainted 2011 parliamentary elections soured Gorbachev’s attitude for a while, by the time Putin ran for a historic 4th term in 2018, Gorbachev was adding Putin was the kind of leader Russia requiredin a “very complicated international situation.”