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Acting President and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attended the funeral of Anatoly Sobchak

February 24, 2000, St Petersburg

The former St Petersburg mayor was lying in state at the Taurida Palace. The Acting President laid flowers on his coffin, and stood near it for several minutes, after which he approached Lyudmila Narusova, Anatoly Sobchak’s widow, and their daughter Ksenia for a long talk.

In his graveside speech at the Nikolskoye Cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, Mr Putin said Anatoly Sobchak was a brilliant political activist of a national scope. He was one of the authors of the constitution, which, for the first time in Russian history, named respect for human rights and freedoms as its basic principle. Thanks to him, the city avoided public unrest in the hungry winters of the early 1990s and bloodshed in 1991 and 1993.

As St Petersburg University professor of law, Anatoly Sobchak taught his students free expression of their opinions, Mr Putin said.

February 24, 2000, St Petersburg