Russia's political elite have joined thousands of mourners in bidding farewell to Yevgeny Primakov, a former prime minister who also served as Russia's top diplomat and foreign intelligence chief during a long and distinguished career.

Primakov, who died last week at 85, lay in state in the House of the Unions, a columned building in Moscow where the state funerals of Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and other Soviet leaders also were held.

Among the mourners Monday was 84-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union. Russian President Vladimir Putin was expected later.

State television covered the services live, with commentators praising Primakov for standing up to the West. He is remembered for his desperate but unsuccessful efforts to avert wars in Iraq and NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia.