Putin denies Gorbachev a state funeral

STORY: Mikhail Gorbachev is set to be buried on Saturday.

But there won’t be a state funeral for the last Soviet leader.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is denying him that honor. And what's more - he won't be at the funeral either.

It's a decision that reflects the Kremlin's ambivalence about Gorbachev's legacy.

Putin was seen placing roses by his coffin on Thursday, with a spokesperson saying he was there in lieu of the funeral due to his work schedule.

Much like the funerals of Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev - Gorbachev's ceremony will take place in Moscow's Hall of Columns.

And it will have elements of a state funeral - like a military guard of honor.

But it'll still be a far cry from the treatment Boris Yeltsin received in 2007.

He was instrumental in sidelining Gorbachev as the Soviet Union fell apart - and hand picked Putin as his successor.

When he died, Putin declared a national day of mourning - and attended a grand state funeral in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

While Gorbachev has been revered in the West, his legacy in Russia is more complicated.

Many blame him for the economic chaos after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Putin once called the breakup of the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century".

Now, Russia's invasion in Ukraine appears aimed at reversing - at least in part - the collapse of the Soviet Union that Gorbachev failed to prevent in 1991.