Putin Won't Attend Gorbachev's Funeral

Kremlin says he's too busy on Saturday
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2022 5:25 PM CDT
Putin Won't Attend Gorbachev's Funeral
In this 2004 photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, talks with former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.   (Carsten Rehder/dpa via AP, File)

It's no secret that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is not a fan of the political legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev. That became clearer than ever on Thursday when the Kremlin announced that Putin will not attend the former Soviet leader's funeral this weekend, reports CNN. "Putin's work schedule will not allow him to take part," says spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Putin, who has called the demise of the USSR under Gorbachev "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century," did pay his respects Thursday at the Moscow hospital where Gorbachev died by laying flowers at his coffin, per the BBC.

But Saturday's funeral is a different story. "It's a snub," writes Steve Rosenberg at the BBC, adding that it's not a surprise given that Putin "has been busy dismantling" Gorbachev's legacy of expanding freedoms for Russian citizens and seeking better relations with the West. Another perceived snub: Gorbachev's funeral will have "elements of a state funeral," says the Kremlin's Peskov, but it will not, in fact, be a state funeral, per Reuters. Most foreign leaders cannot attend anyway, having been barred from Russia in retaliation for sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine. (More Mikhail Gorbachev stories.)

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