Russia: Vladimir Putin will not attend Mikhail Gorbachev’s funeral

Vladimir Putin will not attend the funeral of Mikhail Gorbachev, who died Tuesday at the age of 91announced Thursday, September 1, the spokesperson for the Russian presidency. “We know that the main ceremony will be on September 3, as well as the funeral, but the president’s schedule will not allow him to be there”said Dmitry Peskov.

The legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev, last leader of the USSR, is controversial and a source of resentment in Russia. According to images broadcast on television, Vladimir Putin already went to the Central Clinical Hospital (TSKB) in Moscow on Thursday, where Mikhail Gorbachev died, to pay tribute to him.

The Russian president laid a bouquet of red roses near the open coffin of the ultimate leader of the USSR. He paused for a few seconds, looking at the body, then he bowed his head in deference. He then touched the coffin, made the sign of the cross with his hand and walked away. He was expected on Thursday for an official visit to the Kaliningrad enclave.

“State funeral elements”

Mikhail Gorbachev died after a “long and serious illness”. A great political figure of the 20th century, he marked history by precipitating, in spite of himself, the fall of the Soviet empire in 1991, when he was trying to save it with democratic and economic reforms. The dislocation of the USSR, described by Vladimir Putin as “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”signaled the end of the Cold War.

The discreet tributes paid in Russia to Mikhail Gorbachev illustrate his low popularity in the countries. Lhe Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, limited himself to saying that “national funeral elements” would be present at Mikhail Gorbachev’s burial, including a “honor guard”.

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