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Russia Holds State Funeral for Former President Yeltsin


Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin has been buried in Moscow's Novodevichy cemetery after an elaborate state funeral.

Artillery roared in a final salute as the coffin of the country's first post-Soviet leader was lowered into the ground in an area reserved for major Russian authors, musicians and artists.

The interment followed a mournful, nationally televised funeral ceremony, attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, former U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and former British Prime Minister John Major. German President Horst Kohler, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former Polish President Lech Walesa also witnessed the ceremonies at Christ the Savior Cathedral.

In later comments at the Kremlin, President Putin paid tribute to Mr. Yeltsin as a man who "tried to do everything possible to make the lives of millions of Russians better." Mr. Putin said his government will "continue to work toward these goals."

Mr. Yeltsin died Monday of heart failure. He was 76.

Thousands of people filed by Mr. Yeltsin's body Tuesday and overnight as it lay in state inside the historic, gold-domed cathedral. Mr. Yeltsin ordered the church rebuilt in the early 1990s - six decades after Josef Stalin's communist regime destroyed the building with dynamite.

Communist lawmakers have expressed resentment at Mr. Yeltsin's role in ending the Soviet Union. They refused to stand for a moment of silence at the opening of today's session of the lower house of parliament.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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