Gorbachev Too Ill to Attend Thatcher’s Funeral

MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev will not attend the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher due to health reasons, a representative of the Gorbachev Foundation in Moscow said on Thursday.

The two leaders had worked closely together while Gorbachev implemented his policy of glasnost (openness) in the final years of the Cold War, after Thatcher famously said upon meeting him: “I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together.”

“Margaret Thatcher was a great politician and a striking person,” Gorbachev, 82, said in a statement on Monday.

Thatcher, a staunch anti-Communist, was nicknamed the “Iron Lady” in Russia for her perceived toughness, a moniker that was then picked up by her supporters and critics at home.

Pavel Palazhchenko, who worked as an interpreter for Gorbachev, said Thatcher had been tough and persistent, but always felt when it was necessary to reach an agreement. He said she had done much to end the Cold War.

Thatcher, who was prime minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990, died on Monday at the age of 87 following a stroke. Her funeral is due to be held on April 17 in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London with full military honors.


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