Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh was buried on Thursday in his native village after a funeral parade through Abkhazia’s capital, Sukhumi.
Bagapsh died in Moscow on Sunday of complications following surgery for lung cancer. The 62-year-old was seen as a hero by many Abkhaz for leading the republic to independence from Georgia, although the republic has only been recognized by Russia and four other countries.
The funeral day started with a memorial service in Sukhumi that was attended by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The president’s coffin was then paraded through the streets of the capital on a military gun carriage with an honor guard.
After the procession, the coffin was driven about 50 kilometers to the village of Dzhgerda in the Ochamchira District, where Bagapsh was buried next to his parents, near the house where he was born.
An honor guard fired 10 artillery rounds over the grave and a brass band played the national anthem of Abkhazia.
“These people are born rarely. Before his birth, our family was not known, and now he will go down in history,” a cousin of the president said at the burial.
Bagapsh, Abkhazia’s president since 2005, was reelected in 2009.
Abkhazia and another Georgian breakaway republic, South Ossetia, were recognized by Russia as independent states in 2008 following a five-day war, which started when Georgia attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to bring it back under central control.
SUKHUMI, June 2 (RIA Novosti)