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The funeral and burial plans for Mikhail Gorbachev sum up the crosscurrents of his legacy — final farewells were said in the same place where his rigid Soviet predecessors also lay, but he was buried near men who broke the Soviet mold.
Gorbachev, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who died August 20, was laid in state on September 3, in Moscow’s House of Unions. The building located between the Bolshoi Theater and the Duma, the lower house of parliament, for decades held the bodies of deceased Soviet leaders, including Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko.
All of them were then interred outside the Kremlin walls — the mummified Lenin in an enormous mausoleum and the others in the nearby necropolis.
But Gorbachev was buried in the cemetery of Novodevichy Convent, the resting place for the ousted Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who had criticized Stalin’s “cult of personality,” and for Boris Yeltsin, the Russian president who became the ex-USSR’s dominant leader.
He was buried next to his wife Raisa, a demonstration of their public affection, which was such a contrast to the other leaders’ barely visible personal lives.
A few days before the funeral, the Kremlin had not yet announced whether it would be a state funeral. Gorbachev was a divisive, often-detested figure in Russia, and the state he led — the Soviet Union — no longer exists.
Gorbachev was praised by some world leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, for being open to democratic changes. Others criticized efforts by Soviet authorities to crush dissent in their countries under his leadership.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.