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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Anti-Narcotics Benefit Delayed Due to Crisis

Rock Fight-98, the anti-drug charity concert that was due to take place Saturday in the big arena of Luzhniki Stadium, has been postponed.

Ovatsia, which runs an annual music award, and the Russkoye Zoloto company announced Thursday they were delaying the concert f probably until next June f because of the economic crisis. "Because of force majeure circumstances f the unstable economic situation in the country f conducting the festival on a proper level is considered impossible," their press release said.

Yekaterina Dribinskaya, a spokeswoman for Ovatsia, said some of the necessary payment transfers had not come through on time.

All the money from ticket sales was supposed to have gone toward helping recovering drug addicts. Originally, the organizers said the funds raised would pay for the construction of a rehabilitation center, but pressure from the Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church caused them to look for another beneficiary.

The church claimed that the fund that was to run the center was connected to the Church of Scientology. The use of scientology detoxification methods has been banned by Russia's Health Ministry. In response to the church's complaint, the mayor's office, which is acting as a co-sponsor of the concert, ordered that the money be given to a different charity. Instead, the proceeds would be given to a Moscow drug clinic.

The concert was to feature about 30 bands and singers, including such big names as Gorky Park, Moralny Kodeks, Spleen, DDT, Zhanna Aguzarova, Nastya Poleva and Vladimir Kuzmin.

Uriah Heep and Suzi Quatro were also among the bands listed on posters advertising the concert. Ovatsia informed the media last week that they did not have enough money to bring Uriah Heep. But TCI, the company that represents Uriah Heep in Russia, said the band had not been consulted before its name was used on the advertisements.