President Putin and former premier Medvedev were among the first to pay tribute to the first and last President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev.
The huge public ceremony took place in downtown Moscow, a few meters from Red Square.
Gorbachev died a few days ago at the age of 91 leaving a very controversial political and public heritage that is being actively discussed these days in Russia.
Almost all Western leaders expressed their deep condolences and clearly stated that Gorbachev was a great politician who had taken the courage to lift the iron curtain, stop the Cold War and create conditions for rapprochements. Is it enough for a single politician of the Soviet breed?
Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban paid a blitz visit to Russia and also layer flowers on the coffin of Gorbachev.
US Ambassador in Moscow John Sullivan was also there among the foreign representatives. Ambassadors of Germany and Japan in Russia were present as well.
Recently there were reports that former Poland President Lech Walesa was eager to come to Moscow to pay a tribute to Gorbachev.
“He just gave people the opportunity to say what they think”, – that was the comment of Grigory Yavlinsky, liberal and most acclaimed politician of the Yeltsin era.
“Trusting and humble”, said Yevgeny Mironov, one of the Russian theatre and movie icons.
A huge crowd of Moscow citizens gathered in one of Moscow’s most renowned places – the House of Unions in a long queue to lay flowers and salute the late Soviet leader. Years before this venue used to be the last station for Stalin and many other communist leaders.
US President Biden, Chancellor Scholz, Silvio Berlusconi, Boris Johnson and many others have recently shown their respect to the late Soviet leader in a frank way.
The Kremlin had previously stated that the funeral events would not be of a state nature, but would be held “with elements of a state funeral” – the organization was handled by the protocol service of the President of the Russian Federation. The president himself will not be at the funeral, as reported, due to a busy work schedule. Mikhail Sergeyevich will be buried at the Novodevichy cemetery, next to the grave of his wife Raisa.
For the whole world, Gorbachev became a symbol of the end of the Cold War. According to the press secretary of the president, the ceremony will be held with elements of a state funeral, including an honour guard, a tribute to the man who led our country in a difficult time of change and upheaval.
Mikhail Gorbachev died on August 30, 2022, at the age of 91 after a serious and prolonged illness.
Gorbachev held the highest state post in the Soviet Union for six years. He proclaimed a new course almost immediately after his appointment as Secretary General of the Communist Party Central Committee in 1985, then headed the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, proposed to establish the post of president and repeal the article of the constitution on the leading role of the party. At that moment, the Russian words “perestroika” and “glasnost” entered many languages of the world. Gorbachev resigned as President of the USSR on December 25, 1991, at the same time the Soviet Union ceased to exist.