Putin won’t be at Gorbachev funeral because ‘work schedule will not allow’ (2022)

Gorbachev's funeral will be a marked contrast to the funeral of Boris Yeltsin, who was instrumental in sidelining Gorbachev and hand-picked Putin to succeed him

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Putin won’t be at Gorbachev funeral because ‘work schedule will not allow’ (1)

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Felix Light

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Sep 01, 2022September 2, 20223 minute read Join the conversation

Putin won’t be at Gorbachev funeral because ‘work schedule will not allow’ (2)

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is to miss the funeral of the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, denying the man who failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet empire the full state honours granted to Boris Yeltsin.

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Gorbachev, idolized in the West for allowing eastern Europe to escape Soviet communist control but unloved at home for the chaos that his “perestroika” reforms unleashed, will be buried on Saturday after a public ceremony in Moscow’s Hall of Columns.

Putin won’t be at Gorbachev funeral because ‘work schedule will not allow’ (3)

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The grand hall, within sight of the Kremlin, hosted the funerals of Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev. Gorbachev will be given a military guard of honour — but his funeral will not be a state one.

State television on Thursday showed Putin solemnly placing red roses beside Gorbachev’s coffin — left open as is traditional in Russia — in Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital, where he died on Tuesday at age 91.

Putin made a sign of the cross in Russian Orthodox fashion before briefly touching the edge of the coffin.

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“Unfortunately, the president’s work schedule will not allow him to do this on Sept. 3, so he decided to do it today,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He said Gorbachev’s ceremony would have “elements” of a state funeral, and that the state was helping to organize it.

After the service, Gorbachev’s body will be buried at Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery next to his wife, Raisa, who died in 1999.

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It will be a marked contrast to the funeral of Yeltsin, who was instrumental in sidelining Gorbachev as the Soviet Union fell apart and hand-picked Putin, a career KGB intelligence officer, as the man most suited to succeed him. When Yeltsin died in 2007, Putin declared a national day of mourning and, alongside world leaders, attended a grand state funeral in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

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(Video) Putin snubs Gorbachev? Pays tribute but won't attend his funeral in Russia. Here’s why

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Russia’s intervention in Ukraine appears aimed at reversing at least in part the collapse of the Soviet Union that Gorbachev failed to prevent in 1991.

Gorbachev’s decision to let the countries of the postwar Soviet communist bloc go their own way, and East and West Germany to reunify, helped to trigger nationalist movements within the 15 Soviet republics that he was powerless to quell.

Five years after taking power in 2000, Putin called the breakup of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”

Gorbachev’s interpreter said on Thursday that the former leader was shocked and bewildered by the Ukraine conflict in the months before he died and psychologically crushed in recent years by Moscow’s worsening ties with Kyiv.

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Pavel Palazhchenko, who worked with Gorbachev for 37 years and was at his side at numerous U.S.-Soviet summits, spoke to Gorbachev a few weeks ago by phone and said he and others had been struck by how traumatized he was by events in Ukraine.

“It was very obvious to us in our conversations with him that he was shocked and bewildered by what was happening (after Russian troops entered Ukraine in February) for all kinds of reasons. He believed not just in the closeness of the Russian and Ukrainian people, he believed that those two nations were intermingled.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the board of Russia’s largest private oil company Lukoil died on Thursday after falling from a hospital window in Moscow, two sources familiar with the situation said, becoming the latest in a series of businessmen to meet with sudden unexplained deaths.
Body: The sources confirmed reports by ► several ◄ Russian media that the 67-year-old had plunged to his death, but the circumstances surrounding his fall were were unclear.

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(Video) Russian President Putin not attending funeral of Mikhail Gorbachev - BBC News

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Russian state news agency TASS reported the death as a suicide, citing a law enforcement source. It quoted the source as saying Maganov had been admitted to hospital after suffering a heart attack, and was also taking antidepressants.

Reuters was unable to confirm those details. Three sources told Reuters that, based on their close acquaintance with Maganov, they did not believe he would have killed himself.

Lukoil was one of a few Russian companies to publicly call for an end to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, calling in March for the “immediate cessation of the armed conflict.”

At least six other Russian businessmen, most with ties to the energy industry, have died suddenly in unclear circumstances in the past few months.

– With additional reporting by The Associated Press

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(Video) Putin Pays Tribute to Gorbachev But Won't Attend His Funeral

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