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Yeltsin Lies in State; Funeral Set for Wednesday

Russians mourning the loss of their first post-Soviet leader, Boris Yeltsin, will have a chance to pay their last respects Tuesday, as his body lies in state at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, near the Kremlin. VOA's Lisa McAdams in Moscow reports a state funeral will follow, Wednesday, which President Vladimir Putin has declared a national day of mourning.

Former President Yeltsin, who died of a heart attack Monday at 76, will be buried at Moscow's historic Novodevichy Cemetery, Wednesday, following memorial ceremonies in the golden-domed Christ the Savior Cathedral.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has postponed his annual state-of-the-nation address from Wednesday to Thursday, to attend the funeral, along with hundreds of dignitaries.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush Senior are expected to attend on behalf of the United States.

Ordinary Russians will be able to pay their last respects to Mr. Yeltsin today, during late-afternoon viewing hours at the cathedral. Many Russians only learned of Yeltsin's death, late Monday night, when President Putin took to the airwaves to hail his predecessor as the man who gave birth to a newly democratic Russia.

President Putin said he remembers Yeltsin as courageous, brave, heartfelt and direct.

Mr. Putin has declared Wednesday a national day of mourning across Russia, with flags to be flown at half-mast and televised entertainment programs canceled.

Russia's media have painted a mostly positive spin on Yeltsin's life, praising the political and economic freedoms he introduced to the country.