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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Festivities Set for Independence Day

In an effort to create a festive atmosphere for Russian Independence Day festivities this weekend, city authorities have planned two days of food, song and dance. The June 12 holiday commemorates the fourth anniversary of the proclamation of Russia's sovereignty, and the third of President Boris Yeltsin's election. On Saturday beginning at noon there will be a street fair on Vasilyevsky Spusk, behind St. Basil's Cathedral, with food, song and dance. The fair will give way to a free concert at 8 P.M., with Russian rock idol Vladimir Presnyakov and other stars of the Russian pop music scene. A fashion show, and, after dark, fireworks and a laser show. On Sunday from 12 A.M. to 2 P.M. there will be a concert outside the Bolshoi Theater featuring folk dancing and choral singing. But despite official efforts to create a holiday mood, many residents of the capital remain lukewarm in their attitude to the new holiday. "I don't feel that it is a holiday," said one worker. "What are we celebrating? I do not have the feeling that Russia is independent, or that I am." Also threatening to dampen the holiday spirit are scheduled demonstrations by hardline opposition groups, including the neo-Communist Working Russia, which plans to rally in Moscow on Sunday morning. Monday, June 13 is a day off for most Russians. Government offices will be closed, as will most stores and businesses. Many hard-currency supermarkets have indicated that they will keep normal hours: The Arbat Irish House, Sadko and Sadko Arcade, Julius Meinl, and the Garden Ring Supermarket will all be open. Stockmann will be closed Sunday, but will be open on Monday.