The Kremlin has confirmed that Vladimir Putin will not attend Mikhail Gorbachev‘s funeral, scheduled for September 3.

The last leader of the USSR died this week at the age of 91 in Moscow and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a scheduling problem will prevent the Russian president from attending that day.

The Russian leader came to power in 1985 and unwittingly brought about the collapse of the USSR in 1991 by beginning to reshape the country with new policies.

In 2005, Putin declared that the disintegration of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century”.

The Russian president sent a telegram of condolences to his family after learning of the death of the former head of state.

Peskov said: “Unfortunately, the president’s work schedule will not allow him to attend on September 3, so he has decided to send his condolences today.”

Gorbachev’s funeral will be open to the public. He will be buried next to his wife Raisa in the Novodevichy cemetery.

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