Russia to bury Gorbachev, darling of the West, with a shrug

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  • No state awards or Putin presence planned for funeral
  • Gorbachev’s reforms accelerated the end of the Soviet Union
  • Former leader stunned by Russian actions in Ukraine
  • This content was produced in Russia, where the law limits coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine.

MOSCOW, Sept. 3 (Reuters) – Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader much admired in the West and who lived long enough to see all the reforms he had advocated undoing, was to be buried Saturday without state honors or President’s presence Vladimir Putin.

Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday at the age of 91, has been given a public farewell – Muscovites will be able to view his coffin in the imposing Hall of Columns, within sight of the Kremlin, where previous Soviet leaders have been mourned.

Prior to his funeral, which was scheduled for 0700 GMT, porters hoisted Gorbachev’s wooden coffin, covered with a tricolor Russian flag, into the hall.

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But it was no surprise that Putin, a longtime KGB intelligence officer who called the collapse of the Soviet Union a “geopolitical catastrophe,” denied Gorbachev full state honors, saying his agenda would not allow him to attend the funeral.

Gorbachev became a hero in the West for allowing Eastern Europe to shake off more than four decades of Soviet communist control, reunite East and West Germany, and forge arms control treaties with the United States.

But when the 15 Soviet republics seized upon the same liberties to demand their independence, Gorbachev was powerless to prevent the Union’s collapse in 1991, six years after he became its leader.

For that, and the economic chaos that his liberalization program ‘perestroika’ unleashed, many Russians could not forgive him.

GORBACHEV ‘CRUSHED’ BY UKRANEAN EVENTS

The many Western heads of state and government who would have certainly come will be absent on Saturday, kept away by the rift in relations between Moscow and the West created by Putin’s move to send troops to Ukraine in February.

Instead, ordinary Russians will pass through the open casket of the Nobel laureate, whose honor guard, according to the Kremlin, will be an “element” of a state affair.

It will all be a long way from the national day of mourning and state funeral in Moscow’s main cathedral awarded in 2007 to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who played a key role in sidelining Gorbachev when the Soviet Union exited. fell apart and later hand-picked Putin as his own successor. read more

However, after the ceremony, Gorbachev, like Yeltsin, will be buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, along with his adored wife Raisa, who died 23 years ago.

When he entered the Kremlin in 2000, he wasted little time in reversing the political plurality created by Gorbachev’s policies of “glasnost,” or openness, and slowly rekindled Moscow’s influence over many of its lost republics. build.

Gorbachev’s interpreter and assistant said this week that Russia’s actions in Ukraine had left the former leader “shocked and stunned” in the final months of his life. read more

“It’s not just the operation that started on February 24, but the whole evolution of Russia-Ukraine relations in recent years was a really big blow to him. It really crushed him, emotionally and psychologically,” Pavel Palazhchenko told Reuters in an interview.

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Reporting by Reuters; Written by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Frances Kerry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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