Russians prepare for Mikhail Gorbachev’s funeral

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Russians are preparing to bid farewell to the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, on Saturday at a funeral that was ignored by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The public farewell ceremony for Gorbachev, who died this week at the age of 91, is expected to take place from 10 am local time until early afternoon in Moscow’s Hall of Columns, a celebrated venue that has hosted funerals. of former Soviet leaders such as Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin.

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Gorbachev will be buried alongside his wife Raisa later in the day at Novodevichy Cemetery.

The Kremlin did not go so far as to announce a state funeral for Gorbachev, with its spokesman explaining that the ceremony would have “elements of a state funeral”, including an honor guard and the state assisting in the organization. No explanation was provided as to how the event would differ from funerals of the type held previously.

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Though celebrated in the West for the end of the Cold War, Gorbachev is seen as an outcast at home for the chaos caused by his economic reforms — creating the circumstances that made a strongman like Putin attractive to many Russians.

Putin blamed Gorbachev for the end of the USSR, calling it “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century, and set out to restore Russia’s wounded prestige.

However, the Russian president will be absent from Saturday’s funeral due to his work schedule, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Putin paid tribute to Gorbachev last Thursday (1st).

Footage showed the Russian leader laying a bouquet of roses next to the open casket at the Central Clinical Hospital, where he bowed and made the sign of the cross.

Today’s funeral is a stark contrast to the death of Russia’s first democratically elected president, Boris Yeltsin – who had chosen Putin to be his successor.

The Kremlin announced a day of national mourning after Yeltsin’s death in 2007, and his funeral was attended by a number of world leaders, including Putin, former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush, the former first British Minister John Major and Prince Andrew, as well as former Polish President Lech Walesa.

Gorbachev’s funeral is unlikely to receive a similar list of famous guests, as Moscow has banned hundreds of foreign officials from entering Russia in retaliation for Western sanctions.

Source: CNN Brasil

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