The last farewell to Mikhail Gorbachev took place in Moscow. Thousands of people came to honor his memory | iRADIO

Thousands of people came to honor the memory of former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev at the House of Trade Unions in Moscow on Saturday, where a public final farewell was held. The first and last president of the USSR, who launched the drastic reforms that helped end the Cold War and also hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday at the age of 91.



Moscow
10:37 a.m 9/3/2022 (Updated: 15:30 3/9/2022)

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The attendance at the last farewell was so great that the event had to be extended by two hours | Photo: Maxim Shipenkov | Source: Profimedia

The last farewell to Gorbachev, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, takes place in the Columned Hall of the House of Trade Unions in Moscow, within sight of the Kremlin. In the past, the hall served many times as a place of farewell to high-ranking representatives of the USSR.

The pallbearers placed Gorbachev’s open coffin in the middle of the hall, while quiet melancholy music from the film Schindler’s List played in the background. Two uniformed guards stood on either side of the casket, a portrait of the former president was placed on the right, and his family sat on the left. Crowds of people flocked to the site to lay flowers before bowing to pay their respects to Gorbachev.

The turnout for the last farewell to Gorbachev was so great that the event had to be extended for another two hours | Photo: REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool | Source: Reuters

Several prominent Russian representatives and cultural figures, including Russian State Duma legislator Konstantin Kosachev and pop singer Alla Pugacheva, also paid their respects to the Gorbachev family.

The turnout for the final farewell was so great that the event had to be extended for another two hours beyond the scheduled two hours. Many of the visitors said they wanted to honor Gorbachev as a “peacemaker” who removed totalitarianism and gave them freedom, according to Reuters.

“He wanted to give us democracy and freedom, and it turns out we’re not quite ready yet,” said billionaire and Kremlin critic Alexander Lebedev, who once funded an opposition newspaper with Gorbachev. “This is very unfortunate, but we will still be a European country. This part of history will end one day,” added Gorbachev’s close friend.

Thousands of people came to honor the memory of the former president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. | Photo: REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov | Source: Reuters

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is a vocal supporter of the war in Ukraine, also attended the farewell. He then published a post on the Telegram communication channel in which he referred to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and accused the United States and its allies of trying to engineer the collapse of Russia, which he described as a “chess game with Death.”

The former Soviet president will be buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery after the funeral rites, where he has a reserved grave next to his late wife Raisa.

Many prominent Russian personalities were buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery. For example, the grave of the writers Mikhail Bulgakov or Nikolai Gogol is located there. The first Russian president Boris Yeltsin and the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev are also there. Most of the other Soviet leaders were buried near the Kremlin wall.

The last farewell to Gorbachev, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was held in the Hall of Columns of the House of Trade Unions in Moscow. | Photo: REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov | Source: Reuters

Gorbachev did not have a state funeral. According to the media, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied Gorbachev the full state honors that Yeltsin received after his death in 2007.

Putin did not attend the ceremony, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, due to his schedule. On Thursday, however, he laid flowers at Gorbachev’s coffin. According to Peskov, the ceremony will include elements of a state funeral, such as an honor guard, and the state has also helped organize it.

Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, even top Western officials will not come to the funeral. However, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán went there to pay tribute to Gorbachev. The ambassadors of the USA, Great Britain, Germany and other Western countries also took part in the farewell.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán went to pay his last farewell to Gorbachev, who wanted to pay tribute to Gorbachev. | Photo: REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool | Source: Reuters

Months before his death, Gorbachev was already shocked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Gorbachev’s interpreter Pavel Palazchenko, who worked with Gorbachev for 37 years and last spoke to him by phone a few weeks ago, told Reuters two days before the funeral. According to him, Gorbachev was also devastated by the deteriorating relations between Moscow and Kyiv in recent years.

CTK

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