The Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not attend Mikhail Gorbachev’s funeral because of “work schedules”.
GorbachevThe last Soviet leader and one of the most important figures of the 20th century, will be laid to rest on Saturday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the ceremony would have “elements” of a state funeral, including an honor guard, and that the government had helped organize it.
Peskov said Putin paid his respects on Thursday morning by visiting and laying a wreath at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow, where Mr. Gorbachev died on Tuesday.
However, he confirmed the president would not attend the funeral.
“Unfortunately, the president’s schedule will not allow him to do this on September 3, so he decided to do it today,” Peskov said.
Putin pays respects to Mr. Gorbachev on Wednesday as a leader who had “a tremendous impact on the course of world history” and found “his own solutions to pressing problems”.
“He led our country in a time of complex changes, large-scale foreign policy, and many economic and social challenges,” the Russian president said in a statement.
“He understands deeply that reform is needed, he strives to come up with his own solutions to pressing problems.”
Putin also noted the “great humanitarian, charitable, educational activities” that Mr. Gorbachev carried out in the years before his death at the age of 91.
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Mr. Gorbachev is known for ending the Cold War without bloodshed, but failing to prevent the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Mr. Putin famously described the collapse of the Soviet Union as the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gorbachev has been a vocal critic of Putin’s leadership style and openly supported the protest movement after the rigged elections in 2011.
Mr. Gorbachev also criticized Putin’s decision to return to the Kremlin for a third term in 2012.
The Russian president responded by accusing the former Soviet president of “abdicating” from power.
A year later, Mr. Gorbachev said of Russia and Mr. Putin: “Politics is increasingly turning into an imitation of democracy. All power is in the hands of the ruler and the president.
“The economy is monopolized. Corruption is very large.”
Mr. Gorbachev is a well-known figure in the West, as US President Joe Biden pays homage to a man who believes in “a better world” and greatly reduces the possibility of world war. third world.
His legacy in Russia, however, is fraught with contradictions – many blame him for the widespread poverty that Russians suffered after the fall of the Soviet Union.