The funeral of the Soviet Union’s last leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday in Moscow aged 91, will take place on Saturday, Russian news agencies reported, citing Gorbachev’s daughter and a spokesperson for his foundation.
The funeral will take place in the famous Hall of Columns inside Moscow’s House of Unions, Russian news agencies reported, the same place where Josef Stalin’s body was put on display following his death in 1953.
The service will be open to the public and Gorbachev will then be buried at Moscow’s central Novodevichy Cemetery, the TASS news agency cited Vladimir Polyakov, press secretary for the Gorbachev Foundation, as saying.
Dozens of high-ranking politicians, poets, royals and intellectuals have been buried at the cemetery since it was established in the 16th century – among them Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first president and Gorbachev’s political rival.
It is also the resting place of Gorbachev’s wife, Raisa, who died in 1999.
Nikita Khrushchev is the only other Soviet leader buried there, with most others laid to rest by the Kremlin’s walls on Red Square.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the Kremlin would decide during Wednesday whether Gorbachev would be given a state funeral.
The TASS news agency reported Peskov as saying that the Kremlin would announce later whether President Vladimir Putin would attend Gorbachev’s funeral.
Putin earlier on Wednesday sent Gorbachev’s relatives his condolences via telegram, while the Kremlin hailed the late politician as an extraordinary global statesman who helped end the Cold War, but had been badly wrong about the prospect of rapprochement with the “bloodthirsty” West.
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