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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Day Festivities Spark Unprecedented Activity

Moscow city officials may have their shortcomings in repairing the streets, housing the homeless or curbing the mafia, but when it comes to throwing a party, they leave nothing to chance.

"People always needed bread and games. With bread it's been difficult, but there will always be games," quipped Igor Bugayev, chairman of the city cultural committee.

Introduced by Boris Yeltsin in 1987 when he headed Moscow's Communist Party Committee, City Day, next Saturday, will celebrate not just the history and diversity of the city and its inhabitants, but also the withdrawal of Russia's last troops from Germany, Bugayev said.

Soldiers will parade down Tverskaya Ulitsa, singing and waving flowers, while a fleet of floats with actors and displays will tell the history of Moscow's streets. Folk dancers, singers and food stands on Teatralnaya Ploshchad will bring the best of Moscow's multitude of ethnic groups.

Doves will be released to symbolize peace, and of course there will be fireworks.

Each city district will hold its own celebrations, with 1,500 events planned in over 200 locations across town, Bugayev said.

The districts will hold most festivities in courtyards, in an attempt to restore a sense of neighborhood community among citizens who often do not even know who lives next door, he added.

"We would like there to be more such holidays," Bugayev said. "Unfortunately, we still need to instill Muscovites with a sense of pride for their city."

Bugayev could not name his budget for the festivities, but said the "several tens of millions of rubles" he planned to spend would be provided in full by commercial sponsors such as Most Bank. Not a penny of taxpayer's money would be spent, he added.

Sponsors also spent $15,000 on a huge steel plaque bearing Moscow's new coat of arms, Leonid Belov, spokesman for the Moscow city government, told a press conference Tuesday.

The emblem, which shows St. George slaying the dragon, has been slightly altered to look more authentic, said its designer, Konstantin Ivanov. St. George was a Roman warrior but Russians traditionally portrayed him as a Russian. He now looks Roman again. In the new version, St. George is also holding his lance the right way round, with the pointed end, rather than the handle, thrust into the dragon's throat.

Belov said that the 8 by 10 meter plaque would be placed on a wall on the old Arbat on Sunday.

List of Major Events:

?At 9:35 A.M. the last train with Russian soldiers returning from Germany will be welcomed outside Belorussky train station. The troops will march down Tverskaya, meet Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Tverskaya Ploshchad and lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The troops will hold a separate celebration in Victory Park, off Kutuzovsky Prospekt.

?At 12.00, the "Carnival of Moscow's Streets" will host a parade of floats from Triumfalnaya Ploshchad to the Manezh.

?At 12.00 also, a cultural festival will start on Teatralnaya Ploshchad.

?At 14.00, a pop concert will start on Tverskaya Ploshchad.

?City districts will each have their own festivities, and museums, parks and the zoo will host their own celebrations throughout Sept. 3 and 4.