Russians prepare to bury former president
( BBC ) - Family members, foreign dignitaries and political friends and foes are preparing for the state funeral of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
The service will take place in a grand cathedral, rebuilt in Moscow after he helped destroy the Soviet system.
Mourners filed past Mr Yeltsin's open casket on the eve of the funeral, now declared a day of national mourning.
Many Russians recall him fondly for ushering in democracy, but others blame him for the poverty they now endure.
The first president of post-Soviet Russia, Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin died from heart failure on Monday, aged 76.
His coffin is open for public viewing at Christ the Saviour Cathedral on Wednesday morning, before his state funeral later on Wednesday.
The list of dignitaries flying to Moscow for the ceremony includes contemporary leaders like former US President Bill Clinton and his predecessor George Bush Snr, ex-British Prime Minister John Major, and former Polish President Lech Walesa.
Also there will be his rival and predecessor as head of state, Mikhail Gorbachev, and his successor, Vladimir Putin.
The symbolism surrounding Mr Yeltsin's death has been deliberately unlike that of past Soviet leaders, says the BBC's Richard Galpin in Moscow.
His body has been laid out in the city's main cathedral, a grand building of marble and gold domes, where white-robed Orthodox priests have chanted prayers and burned incense.
The original church was blown up by the Soviets and the site used for a swimming pool.
Mr Yeltsin's funeral is the first for a head of state sanctioned by the Church since Tsar Alexander III's in 1894.
"By his strength, he helped the restoration of the proper role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the life of the country and its people," said Church spokesman Metropolitan Kirill.
After the ceremony, he will be buried not in Red Square by the Kremlin wall, where great communist figures are buried, but in Moscow's Novodevichy Cemetery, the resting-place of many other eminent Russians.