Putin alleges work reasons to be absent from Gorbachev’s funeral | International
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The leader of Russia at the beginning of the 21st century will not be present at the farewell to the man who is considered the most important statesman in Russia at the end of the 20th century. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend Mikhail Gorbachev’s funeral this Saturday, officially “due to a work agenda.” The act will also not have the category of a state funeral. “It will include some state elements,” the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, promised this Thursday, who did not indicate which ones, beyond indicating that there will be “an honor guard”, in what points to an attempt to minimize Moscow’s decision. to deny Gorbachev a funeral ceremony with the highest honors. “I need to clarify exactly what a state funeral includes,” Peskov replied to reporters two days after the death of the last president of the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev died Tuesday at the age of 91. The farewell ceremony will be held in the Column Hall of the Moscow House of Trade Unions this Saturday morning, and in the afternoon he will be buried in the Novodevichy cemetery next to his wife, Raisa Gorbachev.
Putin made a brief visit this Thursday to the Moscow Central Clinical Hospital, where the mortal remains of the former Soviet leader are now found. Before heading to Kaliningrad, the Kremlin tenant for almost 23 years said goodbye to Gorbachev before his coffin, next to which he placed a bouquet of red flowers. The Russian president stood before him for a few seconds, looked at the portrait of the deceased politician and crossed himself before leaving the place.
“Putin’s work schedule will not allow him to participate in Gorbachev’s farewell ceremony on September 3. Therefore, he decided to do it personally today, ”Peskov stated. The Kremlin spokesman also revealed some more details of the act. This Wednesday, the politician’s foundation, the Gorbachev Fund, and his daughter Irina admitted not knowing what category the funeral would have. Peskov promised to confirm that same day if it would be from the State or not, but there was no further announcement.
“There will be elements of a state funeral,” Peskov told reporters on Thursday. “There will be a guard of honor and the state will help with the organization,” he added. However, when insisting that he specify what elements of a state funeral will be missing from the funeral, the spokesman assured that he was unaware of the matter. “It is difficult for me to answer correctly, I will not do it,” he settled, according to the Russian state news agency Tass.
The protocol of a state funeral includes many more elements than that of the honor guard cited by Peskov. In an act of this nature, state symbols are used; banners are lowered and flags are flown at half-staff; the coffin is covered with the national flag and insignia and other symbols are placed on it. The national anthem is played during the ceremony; the coffin is carried on an artillery cart and an honor guard and escort are also present. The soldiers who participate in the act must wear gala uniforms with the state awards. During the farewell, a salvo is fired.
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a controversial figure
Gorbachev’s management at the head of the Soviet Union is controversial in Russia, and the Kremlin has marked a great distance, almost breaking, with him, although his historical figure and the freedoms to which he opened the door in the country have much weight, even today. Putin himself has described the dissolution of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century”. A significant part of the population considers the perestroika (the transition to the market economy from the communist system) and the glasnost (the transparency of state institutions) as a great failure.
Pável Palazhchenko, personal translator of the former Soviet leader – now head of the Department of International Relations of the Gorbachev Fund – has announced that the institution will continue to function after the death of its founder. “There is a great job with the file that was kept in his residence,” Palazhchenko told the agency. Among these tasks is that of continuing to study the perestroika and the international role of the former president.
In 2020, the Levada sociological center conducted its latest survey on Gorbachev’s management. “Many say that it would have been better if the whole country had stayed as it was before 1985, before the perestroika. Do you agree or not?” was the institution’s question to the Russians. That year Gorbachev came to power as General Secretary of the Central Power of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. 47% responded that it would have been better to stay as before, while 39% disagreed.
“The creation of the first national survey center in the history of the USSR was only possible with the assistance and help of Gorbachev,” recalls Levada’s head of sociocultural research, Alexei Levinson, in a column published on his website. He refers in it to the public institution All-Russian Public Opinion Survey (VtsIOM), accused today of manipulating the polls, while the Levada center has been declared a foreign agent by the authorities.
“In these days of mourning, some will think that there was never a great statesman who managed to free millions without shedding a drop of blood. Others will think how to undo everything that was done for them. Our business, which we started thanks to him, shows people his opinions”, underlines Levinson in defense of the freedom of expression that Gorbachev always defended.
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