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MOSCOW. Funeral ceremonies for First President of Russia Boris Yeltsin took place today in Moscow.
A Russian Orthodox funeral service for Mr Yeltsin was held at Christ the Saviour Cathedral.
The main funeral service was conducted by Metropolitan of Krutitsky and Kolomna Yuvenaly, member of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod, with Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad Kirill and Metropolitan of Kaluga and Borov Kliment assisting.
President Vladimir Putin, the heads of the Russian Government and parliament, federal ministries and regional authorities, members of Russia’s intellectual and creative communities, leaders of foreign countries and heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Russia all paid tribute to Mr Yeltsin.
Following the funeral service, the funeral cortege made its way to Novodevichy Cemetery where the burial took place.
Metropolitans Yuvenaly, Kirill and Kliment and Archbishop Arseny conducted a final funeral ceremony before the burial took place.
As a triple artillery salute was fired, the body of Russia’s First President was lowered into the grave and an orchestra played the Russian National Anthem.
Russia is observing a national day of mourning today in memory of Mr Yeltsin.
Later in the day, a reception was held in memory of Mr Yeltsin in the St George Hall in the Grand Kremlin Palace. The reception was attended by members of Mr Yeltsin’s family and state officials. Mr Putin made a speech paying tribute to Mr Yeltsin.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN : Dear Naina Yosifovna,
Dear members of the Yeltsin family,
We have just paid our last farewell to Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, a man of true Russian expanse and generosity of spirit. We have paid farewell to a man of resolute will and authentic determination.
I am certain that only such a leader, a leader raised and nurtured by all the energy of our great Russia, could arouse a country such as ours and lead it to such fundamental change.
He became President through the support of millions of our citizens, changed the face of power and broke down the thick wall between the public and the state. He was devoted to his people and served them with courage.
He knew how to and loved speaking with people frankly and openly. He never remained in the shadows or hid behind the backs of others. There were times when he consciously chose to take all the fire on himself, accepting personal responsibility for very tough but necessary decisions. He bravely took upon himself the most difficult role in creating the most important democratic institutions.
President Yeltsin understood that most important of all was the irreversibility of the changes that had taken place and steadfast resolution in pursuing his strategic course.
This kind of political style and instinct distinguishes national leaders who do not think only of the present moment but look far ahead into the future.
At a time when the old mechanisms of power had collapsed and Russia’s statehood was weakened, Boris Yeltsin made the difficult achievement of giving the country a new constitution. He put his health and even perhaps his life on the line during the election of 1996, and he emerged victorious.
Looking back at Boris Nikolayevich, one cannot but remember his openness and love of life. It is not by chance that his amazing ability to build relations of genuine friendship became a real foreign policy advantage for Russia.
Dear friends and colleagues,
It is the destiny of a rare few to have found their own freedom and been followed by millions, to have led their country to truly historical transformation and in so doing change the world itself.
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was able to do this, not once retreating or bowing under the weight of his task, not once betraying the people’s choice and his own conscience.
He will always remain a shining symbol of change, a symbol of the fight against decrepit dogmas and prohibitions.
Figures of this dimension never leave us. They live on in people’s ideas and aspirations, in the achievements and successes of their Motherland.
No matter how difficult it was for him, and no matter how great the challenges facing our country, Boris Nikolayevich always believed in the renaissance and transformation of Russia. He respected the talent and strength of the Russian people and sincerely tried to do all he could to improve the lives of millions of Russians (and he always said this word in his own distinctive way, with that particular ‘Yeltsin intonation’).
This was his dream, his goal. And Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin will not just live on in our memories – we will work towards this goal.
May his memory live forever ! - Source : Kremlin News, april 25, 2007