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Russian Leaders Mourn Mandela's Passing

Published: December 7, 2013 (Issue # 1789)

  • Nelson Mandela in 2008.
    Photo: South Africa The Good News

Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president and leader of the anti-apartheid movement, has died at the age of 95 after a long illness, South African President Jacob Zuma said.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son,” Zuma said. “Our people have lost a father."

Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who preached reconciliation between South Africa's white ruling minority and its black population, was one of the world's most esteemed leaders.

Since the announcement of Mandela's passing on Thursday, current and former heads of state, politicians, and social activists from around the world have expressed their sympathy and regret at the loss of the iconic leader.

President Vladimir Putin sent a telegraph to President Zuma on Friday morning, expressing condolences and admiration at Mandela's strength of character.

“A brave man and a wise leader, Nelson Mandela rightfully earned great respect at home and high prestige abroad,” Putin wrote. “The memory of Nelson Mandela will forever remain in the hearts of millions of Russians.”

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who had had cordial relations with Mandela, expressed condolences to the people of South Africa.

"I think there will be people who will live through great difficulties and come out on the road of freedom on a global scale, and these people will remember Mandela,” Gorbachev said. “I express my condolences to those for whom he gave his life — his country, friends and fellow freedom fighters. The memory of Mandela will remain with all of us, and it will forever remain in history.”

Current Russian politicians have also expressed their admiration for Mandela's courageous actions and determination.

"Mandela was the last politician on earth to reach his goals through the non-violent protest of a free individual, by the calm courage of a political prisoner," said Mikhail Margelov, special presidential envoy for cooperation with Africa, Interfax reported. "His name belongs with that of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Gamal Abdel Nasser and other great leaders of 20th century national liberation movements."

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Sunday, Apr. 20

Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.

Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.

Monday, Apr. 21

Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.

Tuesday, Apr. 22

SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.

The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.