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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Countdown to Women's Day

This year's International Women's Day celebrations take on special meaning for Russia's neighbor Finland, with the 100th anniversary of universal suffrage serving as its general theme for the March 8 holiday.

Experimenting with a new way of doing things, the Finnish Embassy has teamed up with Russian cultural and political leaders to put on a series of events centered on the role of women in various aspects of life.

"Ydessa-Vmeste," as the week has been dubbed by organizers, features serious discussions about the status of women interspersed with an array of artistic performances, in a countdown of sorts to the day.

Irina Virganskaya Gorbachev -- Mikhail Gorbachev's daughter -- will start the week with a seminar about women's influence in society. A number of prominent leaders from both sides of the Russian-Finnish border are to take part, including Finland's first female defense minister, Elisabeth Rehn, and local luminaries, such as politician Irina Khakamada. Harry Helenius, the Finnish ambassador in Russia, is also set to appear. The seminar is set for midday on March 1 at the Gorbachev Foundation Conference Hall on Leningradsky Prospekt.

Paula Karppinen of Finland's Ministry of Social Development and Health is to address the theme of equality at a round-table event at the Moscow House of Journalists on March 2 from 4 p.m.

The weekend takes a musical turn, with a contemporary music concert by Russian and Finnish composers set to fill the Gagarin-4 Concert Hall from 7 p.m.

Women's role in the economy is to be taken on by a panel of Finnish and Russian women in an event at the Finnish Embassy on March 5 at 2 p.m.

As the week wends its way back into a more musical interlude, the dance group Gruppen Fyra is to show off the works of composer Iraida Yusupova in the multimedia-ballet show "Get to Paradise" at the National Center for Contemporary Arts at 7 p.m.

On the last evening of the countdown to Women's Day, Suden Aika, composer-vocalist Tatyana Mikheyeva and Armenian singer Marlena Mosh will hit the stage at Dom from 7:30 p.m.

And finally, the day the entire week is building up to: March 8, when a gala concert titled "Night of Women" is to combine jazz-rock, classical music, folklore and a fashion show of sorts at the International House of Music.

As for the melding of Russian and Finnish cultures for the week, Finnish Embassy spokesman Toomas Lybeck said they seem to blend seamlessly.

"It will be interesting," he said. "We have common history -- I think it's not a problem because we are sharing pretty much a common interest and we are not so far away from each other."

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