Viktor Orban and Dmitry Medvedev at the funeral of Mikhail Gorbachev (Video, photos)

The funeral of the former leader of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev has begun in Moscow, the agencies reported. It will take place in a ceremony that will not amount to a state funeral and will pass without the presence of President Vladimir Putin or any other leading world leaders, apart from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Former President Dmitry Medvedev arrived for the mourning ceremony. However, this is widely seen as a slight to the man who presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday aged 91, will be buried at Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery next to his wife, Raisa. Before that, there will be a mourning ceremony in the Hall of Columns at the House of Unions, an iconic building near the Kremlin that has been used for state funerals since Soviet times. Gorbachev’s predecessors, Soviet leaders such as Lenin, Stalin and Brezhnev, also lay here.

Video shows hundreds of Russians lined up waiting to say goodbye to their former leader.

Somber music plays in the Hall of Columns. A huge black and white portrait of Gorbachev hangs from the balcony. The former president lies in an open casket surrounded by an honor guard. There is a sea of ​​red carnations.

The ceremony is expected to last two hours and end by noon. Access to the hall is free.

Next to the coffin of the former Soviet leader, dressed in black with masks, are his daughter and granddaughter.

Liberal politician Grigoriy Yavlinsky was at the funeral and said: “These people came to Gorbachev to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gorbachev. You gave us a chance, but we lost that chance.”

Years ago, Putin called the collapse of the USSR “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” It was well known that Putin and Gorbachev had a strained relationship. Their last meeting was in 2006.

More recently, people close to Gorbachev announced that he was unhappy with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even though he supported the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Gorbachev took power in 1985, introducing bold reforms and opening the USSR to the world. But he failed to prevent the collapse of the union in 1991, and many Russians blame him for the years of turmoil that followed.

The article is in Bulgarian

Tags: Viktor Orban Dmitry Medvedev funeral Mikhail Gorbachev Video photos