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Kremlin Critic Kara-Murza To Be Pallbearer At McCain's Funeral


Vladimir Kara-Murza (left) and Senator John McCain on Capitol Hill in March 2017

Outspoken Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza will be a pallbearer for John McCain when the coffin of the late Republican senator is carried at Washington's National Cathedral.

Kara-Murza's name was announced this week by the office of McCain, along with other details of his memorial services in Arizona, Washington, D.C., and Annapolis, Maryland.

Kara-Murza joins a list of prominent U.S. dignitaries in the honor of carrying McCain's coffin, including former Vice President Joe Biden, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and several current and former senators and others.

The National Cathedral ceremony takes place September 1, a day after McCain lies in state at the U.S. Capitol, an honor afforded to few U.S. officials.

Kara-Murza, who was a top aide to former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, could not be immediately reached for comment. Nemtsov was gunned down near the Kremlin in 2015.

In an op-ed published on August 27, two days after McCain's death, Kara-Murza described the support McCain had given him and other Russian democratic activists.

"His long-standing position on Russia deserves a special tribute," Kara-Murza wrote.

"He certainly was an enemy of those who have turned Russia into an autocracy [and looting ground] at home, and into an instrument of aggression abroad," he said.

In addition to being a decorated war hero and U.S. naval pilot, the longtime Republican senator was known for his hawkish views on Russia, and Russian President Vladimir Putin's Kremlin in particular.

He was also outspoken in his criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump's approach to Russia.

After the ceremonies in Washington, McCain will be buried in Annapolis, Maryland, where the U.S. Naval Academy is located.

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    Mike Eckel

    Mike Eckel is a senior correspondent in Prague, where he reports on developments in Russia, Ukraine, and around the former Soviet Union, as well as news involving cybercrime and money laundering. Before joining RFE/RL in 2015, he worked for the Associated Press in Moscow. He has also reported and edited for The Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera America, Voice of America, and the Vladivostok News.

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