The letter of condolence is brief. In it, Kremlin chief Putin honors the deceased ex-head of state of the Soviet Union for his reform efforts at times of "dramatic changes". The Kremlin boss writes that Gorbachev influenced the course of history.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised Mikhail Gorbachev as an influential personality in contemporary history. The last head of state of the Soviet Union was "a politician and statesman" who "had a great influence on the development of world history," according to the short condolence telegram published by the Kremlin to the relatives. Gorbachev "led our country through a time of complex and dramatic changes and great foreign policy, economic and social challenges".
Gorbachev recognized the great need for reform and tried to offer his solutions to the problem, Putin wrote. The Russian President also addressed Gorbachev's commitment after his term as head of state and party: "I would particularly like to emphasize the great humanitarian, charitable and educational work that Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev has carried out over the past few years." The Nobel Peace Prize winner himself, who was 91 years old, had criticized Putin several times during his lifetime for the restrictions on freedom and democracy in Russia.
On Tuesday, Putin had his spokesman Dmitri Peskov first explain that he expressed his "deepest condolences" to Gorbachev's relatives. In the past, Putin has described the collapse of the Soviet Union as "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century" and promised to restore the country to its former strength.
According to the Kremlin, a decision has yet to be made as to whether there will be a state funeral for Gorbachev. The decision also depends on the wishes of relatives and friends, Peskow explained.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz does not want to say whether he would attend a memorial service for the last Soviet head of state. "I don't think this is the place or the time to talk about travel," says Scholz in response to a question at the end of the cabinet meeting at Meseberg Castle. "I hope that the Russian state will honor its former head of state and government as it deserves."