Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is being buried on Saturday local time, four days after he died at the age of 91. The BBC reports that Mikhail Gorbachev will be buried shortly in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be able to attend Mikhail’s funeral today, the Kremlin said. It was also informed that he would not be able to attend as the work schedule was already fixed.
Mikhail Gorbachev’s role in the collapse of the Soviet Union is assessed in two ways. Although Mikhail is beloved by the West, he is despised in his own country. Many see the absence of the Russian president at his funeral today as an insult.
Vladimir Putin called the collapse of the Soviet Union the biggest geopolitical disaster of the century. Gorbachev took power in 1985. Then he introduced bold reforms and accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union.
It has been reported in advance that Mikhail Gorbachev’s funeral will not be held with full state honors. However, Gorbachev will be given a ‘military guard of honour’.
Regarding Putin not attending the funeral, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday that, unfortunately, President Putin will not be able to attend on September 3 due to a busy schedule. So he paid tribute on Thursday.
Last Thursday, Putin was seen handing a solemn red rose to Gorbachev’s coffin on state television in Russia. Before touching the edge of Gorbachev’s coffin in accordance with local orthodoxy, he drew the sign of the cross on his chest in accordance with Russian Orthodox rules.
Gorbachev’s funeral will be open to the public and he will be buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery. This was reported by Tass news agency, citing Gorbachev Foundation press secretary Vladimir Polyakov.
Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev’s political rival and Russia’s first president, and Gorbachev’s wife Raisa are buried at Novodevichy Cemetery. Raisa died in 1999.
After Yeltsin’s death in 2007, he was buried with full state honors; Vladimir Putin also declared a day of state mourning for his predecessor’s death.
But not so with Gorbachev. However, the protocol department of the Putin administration took over the responsibility of organizing his funeral.
To the West, Gorbachev was the ‘liberator of billions of people imprisoned in Soviet prisons’. On the other hand, to many of Russia’s young and old, he is a villain, ‘who has reduced Russia’s global influence to the ground by failing to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union. ‘