Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend Saturday’s funeral of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday in Moscow at the age of 91. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced this on Thursday, AFP reports.
He won’t make it
“The farewell ceremony and funeral will take place on September 3, but unfortunately the president’s (Putin’s) work schedule will not allow him to (attend),” Peskov told reporters. He added that despite this, the head of the Kremlin had already honored Gorbachev’s memory in the hospital where the former Soviet president died, and his body was kept there until the funeral.
The last farewell to Gorbachev will be held in the Column Hall of the House of Trade Unions in Moscow, where Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was also exhibited after his death in 1953. When asked by reporters if Gorbachev will have a state funeral, Peskov replied that the last farewell will carry “elements” of a state funeral, including, for example, an honor guard or other official signs.
Earlier, Putin sent a condolence telegram to Gorbachev’s relatives and the Kremlin hailed the late politician as an exceptional world leader. He helped end the Cold War but was very wrong about the prospect of a rapprochement with the “bloodthirsty” West, the Russian president’s office said.
Putin considers the collapse of the Soviet Union to be the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. In his statement, he avoided direct criticism of Gorbachev and called him a statesman with a huge influence on the course of world history.
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