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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pop 'King' Feted by City's Elite

The self-proclaimed King of Pop has blown into town and hit the ground running, tearing around Moscow on Monday with a packed schedule that would leave any self-respecting head of state breathless.


A quick run through the Pushkin Museum, an appearance at a children's sports festival, a fleeting glimpse of Red Square and Kremlin attractions, an afternoon of shopping, a visit with Yury Luzhkov in the mayor's offices and a tete-a-tete at the Baltschug Kempinski hotel with, of all people, the Kremlin's disgraced eminence grise Alexander Korzhakov -- Michael Jackson managed to squeeze it all in on the first full day of this, his second trip to Moscow.


At every stop -- at Vnukovo airport, CSKA, Red Square, the Kremlin, outside the mayoral offices and the Baltschug -- Jackson was mobbed by predominantly teenage fans who shouted his name in adulation and craned their necks to get a glimpse of the world-renowned pop singer.


Moscow's fans have had to wait nearly three years to see their idol. Jackson first appeared here in 1993 with his "Dangerous" tour, which was cancelled later that year when the singer admitted to an addiction to painkillers.


Since then, the singer has weathered charges that he sexually molested a 13-year-old boy, an accusation he has consistently denied. Jackson eventually settled the civil case out of court for millions of dollars. meet Jackson's plane, which touched down at 3 p.m. but did not emit the star to the public's adoring gaze for another half hour.


"Michael, Michael," shouted hundreds of frenetic teenagers as they waved banners reading, "Michael, we are so happy to see you in Russia again" and "Thank you for your love." A military band played a march as Jackson descended the steps to the tarmac, where he was greeted there by dozens of young children in Russian folk costumes. As the fans pressed forward, OMON troops kept them at bay with clubs. Jackson was quickly stuffed into a waiting GAI vehicle, which then whisked him off to the Baltschug.


On Monday morning, Jackson began his peregrinations about Moscow with a visit to the Pushkin Museum, closed to the public on Mondays but very much open to the star and his entourage.


After the Pushkin, Jackson was ferried to CSKA, where he watched children participating in Hope Worldwide's Sports Festival, organized for children ages 6 to 16 from Moscow's orphanages. As a beaming Jackson looked on, children competed in various events, including a sack race and a group dance competition featuring Jackson's music.


After enjoying the screams of the participants inside CSKA and the shrieks of those waiting outside the doors, Jackson was stolen away to Red Square, where, near St. Basil's cathedral, a similarly voluble but somewhat more aggressive crowd awaited him.


Once again, Jackson was spirited away from the mob to the decorum and quiet of the Kremlin grounds, where a score of fans waited in vain for a peek at the star. After the Kremlin sojourn, Jackson "went shopping," as he said later at his meeting with Luzhkov.


The Moscow mayor threw open the doors of the White Hall to Jackson for a 5 p.m. meeting, praising the singer both for "giving his all" at his concerts and setting an example with his charitable work. After receiving Luzhkov's vehement protestations of respect and admiration and a gift of a traditional Russian plate, Jackson headed for the Baltschug, where, according to Vladislav Gubin of Intermedia -- the firm in charge of publicity for the concert -- Jackson would meet with Korzhakov, former head of security for president Boris Yeltsin.


Jackson and Korzhakov? According to one source, the two became friendly during the singer's last visit to Moscow.