In a ceremony in Moscow, Russia put to rest Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, without the pomp and splendor of a state funeral, and with Russian President Vladimir Putin absent due to scheduling reason.
Gorbachev, the Western-admired Soviet leader, lived long enough to see all of the reforms he championed in Russia undone. Without Putin’s presence or any state honours, he was buried on Saturday.
The 91-year-old Gorbachev was given a public funeral; Muscovites were able to see his coffin in the majestic Hall of Columns, which is easily noticeable from the Kremlin and has served as a place of mourning for former Soviet leaders.
Putin, a former KGB intelligence officer who referred to the fall of the Soviet Union as a “geopolitical catastrophe,” however, refused to give Gorbachev a full state funeral. In addition, Putin claimed he was too busy to go.
Gorbachev, who was in charge between 1985 to 1991, aimed to bring about democratic reforms in the Soviet Union.
Many people in Russia accuse him of abandoning the Soviet empire and, with it, the nation’s status as a superpower.