MOSCOW: The funeral and burial plans for Mikhail Gorbachev sum up the crosscurrents of his legacy — final farewells are to be said in the same place where his rigid Soviet predecessors also lay, but he will be buried near men who broke the Soviet mold.
Gorbachev, the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner who died on Tuesday, is to lie in state on Saturday 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 is to be 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 former Soviet Union's dominant leader.
He is to be 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.
delivered to your inbox
The Kremlin is yet to announce whether it would be a state funeral. Gorbachev was a divisive, often-detested figure in Russia, and the state he led — the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics — no longer exists.
Gorbachev was praised on Tuesday by some world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, for being open to democratic changes. Others criticized efforts by Soviet authorities to crush dissent in their countries under his leadership.