President Putin speaking with the Metropol of Moscow behind him
MOSCOW -- Saturday marked the celebration of the 859th anniversary of the City of Moscow. More than two million people are expected to come into downtown for events including a laser light show, the unveiling of a statue honoring Moscow's best janitor, and the christening of a new fountain.
While the cooler weather this week will probably attract more people, Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is not leaving sunshine to chance - several aircraft have sprayed aerosols to insure clear skies over the city today. Given that this event also happens to come on the 2nd anniversary of the Beslan massacre, security will be very tight.
Moscow may be the most expensive city in the world, but today ordinary Muscovites get to see lots of beautiful young faces and new architecture representing the positive side of their city. Click on the extended post to read The Moscow Times story and see photographs from the city day parade.
On City Day, Jazz and Laser Shows
By Nabi Abdullaev, Moscow Times Staff Writer
Friday, September 1, 2006. Page 3.
More than 2 million Muscovites are expected to attend an unprecedented 2,000 jazz, rock and classical music concerts commemorating the city's 859th birthday this weekend.
Other high-profile events celebrating City Day include the unveiling of an illuminated, high-tech fountain; a monument to Moscow janitor Viktor Kollegin, who posed for the statue with his baseball cap and a broom; laser shows; and fireworks. There will be cellists, choirs of war veterans and other performers.
Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has ordered city museums not to charge visitors any entrance fees on Saturday and Sunday.
Topping it all off will be cloudless, blue skies: City officials have pledged to ward off any precipitation, if need be, by seeding oncoming clouds with rain-inducing chemicals.
Security will be tight on City Day, with 25,000 police officers, soldiers and security agents patrolling city streets. Liquor and beer sales have been barred for the weekend. Street vendors will offer only soft drinks.
City parks will be guarded by 300 police officers on horseback and 200 officers with bomb-sniffing dogs. A surveillance team will monitor the city's secluded, wooded areas from the air. Concerns about park safety have risen with the spate of deadly attacks in Bittsevsky Park in southern Moscow earlier this year.
The price tag for the festivities will be 35 million rubles ($1.3 million), said Oleg Belikov, head of the City Hall task force overseeing City Day. That figure does not include the cost of security and some high-profile events.
The city will pay less than 15 million rubles for the festivities. The remainder will be covered by private sponsors, Belikov said.
As is tradition, city officials are helping to celebrate City Day by opening a new metro station. On Wednesday, Luzhkov and other officials launched the Mezhdunarodnaya station on the Filyovskaya line. Last year, it was the Delovoi Tsentr station.
From 8 p.m. Friday to 11 p.m. Saturday, Tverskaya Ulitsa will be closed to traffic between Pushkin Square and Okhotny Ryad. From 11:30 a.m. Saturday to the end of the festivities, motorists will be banned from Mokhovaya and Okhotny Ryad streets, and from Lubyanskaya Ploshchad and Novaya Ploshchad. The Garden Ring will be off-limits to cars Saturday afternoon, when police officers are slated to be running in a relay race. On Sunday afternoon, cars will be barred from Varvarka and Ilyinka streets and from Vasiliyevsky Spusk.
Photos from Vesti.ru: