President Viktor Yanukovich has cut short his holidays to pay a final tribute to Bohdan Stupka, one of Ukraine’s best-known and best-loved actors.
Political rivalries were put to one side as the country’s ex-leader Viktor Yushchenko also joined mourners at the Ivan Franko National Drama Theatre in Kiev.
A former culture minister, Stupka was artistic director at the theatre where his body was taken before burial on Tuesday. He died on Sunday aged 70, after a long illness.
“This man has done so much for our culture and for the whole country,” said one woman, waiting in a long queue to pay her last respects. “It’s a mystery to me how Ukraine, I’m not even talking about his family, will go on without him.”
“With Stupka, Ukraine has lost it’s last epic actor, who was able to play anyone – from God to
Mephistopheles,” said another admirer, Ukrainian poet and publisher Ivan Malkovych.
A star of stage and screen, Stupka played leading roles in dozens of films.
He was well-known, too, in Poland and Russia, where he will also be sorely missed by cinemagoers.