Booze Disappears, President Shows Up

APPresident Dmitry Medvedev speaking with a group of graduates early Tuesday outside Moscow State University.
Moscow was covered in prom dresses and tuxedos overnight Tuesday as tens of thousands of graduates celebrated their final day as students.

Some 62,000 graduates from 1,397 local schools participated in the festivities, including around 6,000 who gathered at Red Square, city police spokesman Anatoly Laftovetsky said Tuesday.

The night was calm across the country, with no major incidents connected to the celebrations reported, said Olga Sklyarova, spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry's public order department.

City authorities weren't taking any chances.

As early as Monday morning, many stores throughout the city hung signs informing customers that by decree from City Hall, no alcohol would be sold from 10 p.m. Monday to 8 a.m. Tuesday in order to prevent "traffic accidents and illegal actions during graduation night."

The temporary ban is implemented every year for graduation day -- and not only in Moscow -- "in order to prevent any ominous events" involving drunken revelers, Laftovetsky said.

More than 2,500 police officers and 1,150 private security guards patrolled city streets to keep order during the festivities. Police officers also escorted student groups as they traversed the city, visiting various Moscow landmarks.

One of those landmarks included Moscow State University, where President Dmitry Medvedev surprised a group of graduates partying early Tuesday morning.

"Today, you stand on the path of responsible decisions. ... Tomorrow, you will enter adulthood and begin your independence, building your professional career," Medvedev told the graduates, according to the Kremlin web site.

Organized parties and balls were held at a number of traditional sites, including Red Square, the Olimpiisky and Luzhniki sports complexes and the Moscow International House of Music.