By Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
The U.S. State Department said Ambassador John Sullivan will attend the funeral of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow on September 3.
Gorbachev died on August 30 at a Moscow hospital at age 91.
Gorbachev took over the Communist Party and Soviet leadership in 1985 and presided over six turbulent years that saw the fall of the Iron Curtain, the reunification of Germany, and ultimately the Soviet demise.
Then-KGB officer and current Russian President Vladimir Putin has since called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.”
The Kremlin said Putin will not be able to attend the funeral service because of his work schedule.
Putin privately laid flowers at Gorbachev’s coffin on September 1.
Gorbachev will be buried at Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery next to his wife, Raisa, following a ceremony at the Pillar Hall of the House of the Unions, which has served as the site for state funerals since Soviet times.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on September 1 that while the last Soviet leader will not be honored with a full state funeral, the service will have an honor guard and some other elements that are usually part of such a ceremony.
He would not specify how it would differ from a full-fledged state funeral.
Source: American Military News