Orban travels to Moscow
However, there are some differences with previous funerals for former heads of state. After the death of Russian President Boris Yeltsin (1931–2007), there will be no state funeral. With one exception, no leading EU politicians are expected to attend the funeral.
Only Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced at short notice on Saturday that he would attend the funeral. He wanted to “pay his last respects” to Gorbachev, the Foreign Ministry tweeted. The Kremlin immediately insisted that no meeting was planned between Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid tribute to Gorbachev in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the Kremlin, Erdogan noted Russia’s “significant role” in recent history and in the world.
No invitation for Scholz
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) justified his refusal to attend by saying there was no invitation. Instead, Germany was represented by the chargé d’affaires of the embassy in Moscow and ordered to fly mourning flags in several federal states.
Many foreign politicians would not have been able to attend the funeral anyway, as the Russian side banned their entry in response to Western sanctions. Russian airspace is also closed to flights from “unfriendly EU countries”. That is why it was mainly foreign ambassadors and diplomats who bid farewell to Gorbachev.
Putin has visited Sarg before
Former president and current deputy head of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, attended the funeral and laid flowers at the House of Union.
“We have become a completely different country.”
A national day of mourning has not been declared for the last head of state of the Soviet Union, who led the vast country from 1985 to 1991. For Boris Yeltsin, who died in 2007 and was the first head of state of the Russian Federation, it was.
Gorbachev tried to save the Soviet Union through democratic and economic reforms, but could not prevent its collapse. It also ended the Cold War era between the Eastern Bloc and the West led by the United States.