MOSCOW, May 6 (Itar-Tass) — Boris Yeltsin’s widow Naina intends to attend the ceremony to inaugurate Vladimir Putin as president on May 7, the chief of protocol of the first Russian president, Vladimir Shevchenko, told Tass on Sunday.
According to him this will be the fifth such ceremony for Naina Yeltsin. She did not attend only the first inauguration of Boris Yeltsin in June 1001 when he was sworn into office right at the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Russian Federation. She was a guest of honor at all other inauguration ceremonies.
The Russian leadership holds in respect the widow of the first Russian president. Both Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev have always invited her to festive events at the Kremlin and they also personally visit Naina Yeltsin to congratulate her on major holidays.
Ex-president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, is also expected to attend the inauguration ceremony. He “received an invitation both to the inauguration ceremony and the Victory Day Parade,” spokesman for the Gorbachev Foundationd Pavel Palazhchenko said.
Gorbachev has repeatedly criticized the Russian authorities of late, but Palazhchenko said he would almost surely attend the ceremony. “I am 99 percent sure that he will go although he is tired of trips,” the spokesman said, adding that the schedule of former Soviet president’s trips remains very tense.
Gorbachev, who last year marked his 80th birthday, always receives invitations to all festive ceremonies at the Kremlin. He attended Putin’s inauguration in 2000, and Medvedev’s inauguration in 2008. Only in 2004, when Putin was being inaugurated for his second term in office, Gorbachev was on a trip abroad.