Medvedev, Putin arrive for Chernomyrdin's memorial service
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev...
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin along with representatives of socio-political and cultural circles arrived for the memorial service for former prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, who died early on Wednesday at the age of 72, according to RIA Novosti.
Chernomyrdin will lie in state in a government reception hall on Sparrow Hills, where currently the service is held.
"He served all his duties with honor, and perhaps the most difficult test for him was to lead the government in 1990s," Medvedev said adding that Chernomyrdin did all he could to solve economic problems and to make society come to comfort.
"His government held very difficult reforms in the country," Putin said. "Viktor Stepanovych [Chernomyrdin] was a strong politician."
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller also arrived for the service along with the country`s president and prime minister.
On Thursday the hall was opened to the public, who wanted to pay their final respects to Chernomyrdin.
The president praised Chernomyrdin in a Kremlin address on Wednesday and ordered a state commission to organize the funeral and to provide a live broadcast of the ceremony.
"He was a symbol of the new Russia; together with our new country he made many different decisions, sometimes painful, and served his Motherland his entire life," Medvedev said. "He was a warm-hearted man of great charm and simplicity, open to all. We will remember him."
After serving as prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin from 1992-1998, Chernomyrdin was appointed Russian ambassador to Ukraine in 2001, a post he held until 2009, when he was named the president`s special envoy for economic cooperation with CIS countries.