Putin to miss Gorbachev's funeral due to his 'work schedule'

Vladimir Putin.
(Image credit: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the funeral of late Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who died Tuesday at the age of 91, Reuters reports.

On Thursday, state television showed Putin visiting Gorbachev's coffin in Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital, where he "made a sign of the cross in Russian Orthodox fashion before briefly touching the edge of the coffin," Reuters writes.

Putin opted to pay his respects on Thursday because his "work schedule" will not allow him to attend the services on Sept. 3, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Peskov added that Gorbachev's ceremony would have "elements" of a state funeral, such as a "guard of honor, and a farewell ceremony."

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To that end, it's unclear how exactly Gorbachev's event might differ from an ordinary, full-fledged state funeral, CNN notes; but overall, the government's muted response to his death is in "stark contrast" to that which followed the loss of former President Boris Yeltsin back in 2007.

For one thing, Putin, who resented Gorbachev for bringing about the end of the USSR, took over 15 hours to share a tribute to the fallen leader and compatriot. Gorbachev, meanwhile, had "grown more critical of Putin and his increasingly restrictive regime in recent years," CNN adds.

Gorbachev will be buried next to his wife at Moscow's Novodevichy cemetery, per NBC News.

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