Decision on alternative parade due in Moscow

 

RUSSIA:A DECISION is expected today from the Moscow city authorities on whether to allow an alternative St Patrick’s Day parade after an outcry from Russians over the dropping of the annual event in the city.

The parade, which has been running since 1992, was scrapped for this year after negotiations broke down between city hall and the organisers, Moscow’s Irish Business Club, with traffic disruption and cold weather fears cited by the Irish.

Local anger, however, over the decision to cancel the event sparked a petition with more than 1,000 signatures collected online within days by the Veresk Cultural Foundation, which has hosted traditional musicians, including Joe Burke, John Carty, Seán Ó Sé and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, as well as The Pogues, in the past two years.

“There was a huge reaction. We could have got many more signatures if we tried. People are very disappointed over what’s happened but we are hoping for a positive decision,” said Veresk director Ivan Dontsov.

He said feelings were strong because it was a unique event in the city, celebrating culture on the streets. “There is a similarity of character between Irish and Russian people and spirit. This is something which has happened naturally, the Russian people feel it, and we love Irish culture and the way Ireland celebrates it,” he added.

The group has applied to hold a parade on Sunday, March 20th, along Stary Arbat – Moscow’s main thoroughfare which is pedestrianised – something Veresk hopes will eliminate municipal traffic concerns.