Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader who brought the Cold War to a peaceful end, will soon be buried in Moscow, four days after he died at 91.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the funeral because of his work schedule, the Kremlin says.
However, this is widely seen as a snub to the man who oversaw the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Mr Putin once called the dissolution of the USSR as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century”.
Mr Gorbachev took power in 1985, introducing bold reforms and opening the USSR to the world.
But he was unable to prevent the collapse of the union in 1991, and many Russians blame him for the years of turmoil that ensued.
Outside Russia, he was widely respected, with the UN Secretary General António Guterres saying he had “changed the course of history”, and US President Joe Biden calling him a “rare leader”.
The Gorbachev Foundation says the funeral ceremony will begin at 10:00 local time (07:00 GMT), with members of the…