Moscow Fetes Itself on City Day

MTCity Day celebrations on the Red Square.

About 1.5 million people attended City Day celebrations on Saturday, turning out for dozens of concerts, dance performances and other events sponsored by the city government to fete Moscow.

The holiday, traditionally celebrated on the first Saturday in September, this year fell one day before a mayoral election, lending it a political tinge as some observers accused Moscow authorities of putting on particularly lavish festivities to help collect votes for acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

On Red Square, a series of dance troupes and musicians entertained Sobyanin, Patriarch Kirill and  50,000 other attendees, while other central venues included Gorky Park, where a military band played from a boat in the Moscow River; Tverskaya Ulitsa, where military bands from around the world performed while marching in a parade; Pushkin Square, which hosted rock bands in the evening; and Teatralnaya Ploshchad, where performers from the Bolshoi Theater were featured.

Military planes sprayed special compounds to help break up the cloud cover over the main venues, and the sun shined most of the day, amid intermittent rain showers.

Photo Gallery: Moscow Fetes Itself on City Day