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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Soup Kitchen Serves Protest

Breaking city regulations, one of Moscow's biggest soup kitchens hosted what its director called a "solidarity dinner" in protest at its forced closure last month.

While singers and dancers gathered around a table piled with food and drink Saturday night, two groups of guests were notably absent: the poor, whom the center has been banned from feeding on the premises, and the influential, who had been invited to show support.

But the artists who had been invited to provide the evening's entertainment eagerly watched each other perform Ukrainian folk dances, gypsy ballads and magic shows.

"My soul is overflowing with love," one singer said, adding she was awed by the kitchen's activity and perseverance.

City authorities closed the center Nov. 17, allegedly because of poor sanitary conditions.

But the kitchen's administrators, who continue to feed the hungry from outside the center's premises, say city authorities simply want to use the building for more lucrative purposes.

The center's director, Alexander Ogorodnikov, said the kitchen had passed a sanitary inspection three weeks before its closure.