Fans grieve Jackson's death in downtown St Petersburg (image from NTV news report)
Today, undoubtedly, the biggest world news is the unexpected death of Michael Jackson, the only true King of Pop. It was night time in Moscow when the news reached Russia, and the sad event dominated the news reports around the country all day long since early morning. All Russian news channels, including the state-owned Rossiya and the First Channel, started their news reports with the details of Michael Jackson's passing, his career, his visits to Russia, and tribute of his fans around the world and in Russian cities. Many finished the news with a "no comment" music video tribute to the singer. Gazeta.ru wrote that "only a lazy paralyzed person didn't throw a rock at the idol in the last few years," however they agreed that his death brought out the true feeling about the star in Russia and around the globe: unreserved love and admiration.
Among many Russian leaders, the president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov said "I deeply grieve with the musician's relatives, friends, and fans because of the untimely passing of the outstanding man, unmatchable singer Michael Jackson, whose death ends the entire epoch of the world music culture."
Michael Jackson was a household name in the countries of the former Soviet Union. During his visits to Moscow in 1993 and 1996, he was greeted as a head of state. Radio Free Europe writes that "his live concert in Moscow in 1993 sparked near-hysteria among scores of Russians hungry for a taste of Western culture." One of my brightest personal memories from the Nineties is attending Jackson's History Tour concert at the Dynamo stadium in Moscow in 1996. Today, hundreds of fans laid flowers and toys near the American Embassy in Moscow and in downtown St Petersburg to honor the idol. We all deeply grieve the untimely passing of the musician who influenced our lives and cultures.
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After a concert in Moscow, Russian generals gave Michael Jackson conductor's baton of a military Kapellmeister.
Russia news page of Rossiya's Vesti is dominated by the news about Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson mourned near American Embassy in Moscow.