Saturday, 5 November 2011

Moscow to mark Day of National Unity

Muscovites have been promised road closures and a cold snap for the coming long weekend.

Lower temperatures and thousands-strong mass events are set to descend upon the city – all of which is to be accompanied by sunny weather.

Motorists have been recommended not only to check their routes for street closures on Friday, but also on Monday, Nov. 7, when city center will be closed to cars due to a military parade held on Red Square.

Roads closures have been planned only in the Lyublino district, where one of this year’s two Russian Marches is to mark the Day of National Unity on Nov. 4. A stretch of Ulitsa Pererva between Belorechenskaya Ulitsa and Lyublinskaya Ulitsa from 11 am to 4:30 pm is to be closed, according to Moscow road police, RIA Novosti reported.

But if nationalists, backed by anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, claim their event will draw up to 5,000 people, pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi are hoping to see up to 12,000 people at VVTs where it is holding its version of the nationalists’ gathering.

Antifascists have less-optimistic forecasts – expecting some 500 people for their March of Equality on the same day on Naberezhnaya Tarasa Shevchenko in the western part of the city.

Altogether, 18 rallies have been authorized in Moscow,

The Day of National Unity became a national holiday in 2005, but according to a survey from last year most Russians struggle to name the reason for the celebration.

The country, however, is used to an extra day off in November since the 7th day of the month was an annual celebration of the Socialist Revolution of 1917.

And this year, those who miss demonstrations from the Soviet era will have a chance to mark the date by watching a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the parade held in 1941 to mark 24 years since October revolution and boost public morale as the German forces approached.

The October revolution, despite its name, has always been celebrated in November, as Russia switched to the Gregorian calendar in 1918.

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