Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the funeral of Mikhail Gorbachev, according to Kremlin on Friday. “Unfortunately, Putin`s work schedule will not allow him to take part in the farewell ceremony for Gorbachev on September 3,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
Mikhail Gorbachev’s funeral
He added that the Russian President visited the Central Clinical Hospital today to pay his respects to Gorbachev. A farewell ceremony for Gorbachev, which will be open to the public, is due to take place on Saturday, followed by the funeral later on the same day at Moscow`s Novodevichy Cemetery.
Gorbachev died on Tuesday evening at 91 after a long illness. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin, outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also expressed condolences over the demise of Gorbachev.
Sputnik News Agency citing the hospital stated that he died after a severe and long illness. “Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev died this evening after a serious and long illness,” the agency citing the Central Clinical Hospital said on Tuesday.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the last leader of the United Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). He was a young and dynamic soviet leader who wanted to reform the communist regime along the lines of democratic principles by giving some freedom to citizens.
Glasnost or freedom of speech
When pro-democracy protests swept across the Soviet Union of communist Eastern Europe in 1989, Gorbachev refrained from using force. He recognized the policy of Glasnost or freedom of speech which was severely curtailed during the earlier regime.
Perestroika or Restructuring
Gorbachev also began a program of economic reform called Perestroika or Restructuring which was necessary as the Soviet economy was suffering from both hidden inflation and supply shortages. Cultural freedoms were granted to the press and the artistic community during his time.
He launched radical reforms meant to reduce party control of the government apparatus. Thousands of political prisoners and their dissidents were released during his rule. He is accredited with the success of the nuclear disarmament agreement with the United States of America which won him the Nobel Peace Prize.
Gorbachev`s first five years in power were marked by significant accomplishments, as per The New York Times. He presided over an arms agreement with the United States that eliminated for the first time an entire class of nuclear weapons.
He began the withdrawal of most Soviet tactical nuclear weapons from Eastern Europe. He withdrew Soviet forces from Afghanistan, a tacit admission that the invasion in 1979 and the nine-year occupation had been a failure, as per the US media outlet.