Saturday September 03, 2022

Russians bid to farewell to Gorbachev, but without Putin

Russians bid to farewell to Gorbachev, but without Putin

Mikhail Gorbachev speaks during a meeting. File photo

Last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev will be laid to rest Saturday in a Moscow ceremony, but without the fanfare of a state funeral and with the glaring absence of President Vladimir Putin.

With Russia isolated by its military campaign in Ukraine, no foreign leaders are expected to attend what will be a relatively low-key affair to remember one of the great political figures of the 20th century.


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Gorbachev — affectionately known in the West as Gorby — died on Tuesday at the age of 91 following a "serious and long illness", the hospital where he was treated said.

Russians bid to farewell to Gorbachev, but without Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting. File photo

In power between 1985 and 1991, Gorbachev sought to transform the Soviet Union with democratic reforms, but also eventually triggered its demise.

In Russia, many blame him for letting go of the Soviet empire and with it the country's position as a global power.

But in the West, Gorbachev is viewed as the man who ended the Cold War and lifted the Iron Curtain -- achievements recognised by a Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Gorbachev championed freedom and democratic reform, seeking closer ties with Western nations, a legacy that critics say Putin has dismantled during his more than two decades in power.



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