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MOSCOW, March 23 (Itar-Tass) - All the lights will be switched off in the presidential residence in the Kremlin and the House of Government on Saturday from 20:30 till 21:30 Moscow time. Only the presidential standard in the Kremlin and the state flag on the House of Government will be backlit.
The chief Kremlin manager's press secretary Viktor Khrekov told Itar-Tass that the Kremlin management department would join the Earth Hour event.
Under consideration were various ways how to participate, but not to cause problems.
Lights in all the Kremlin buildings and the backlights of the Kremlin Wall, the St. Basil's Cathedral and the GUM department store at Red Square will be switched off. Only the star on the Kremlin's Spassky Tower will remain on, the press secretary said.
The decision is also taken for the House of Government. Lights in the entire building and the outside backlights will be turned off, Khrekov said, adding that specialists would estimate the economic effect.
Earth Hour is an annual international event of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to draw attention of people in the world to the climate change problem. Participants switch off lights and electric devices for an hour at 20:30 local time on the last Saturday of March. This year, the blackout is planned for a week earlier, as Western Christians have Holy Saturday on March 30.
It will be the fifth Earth Hour in Russia. In Moscow, aside from the Kremlin, backlights will be off at 86 sights, including the building of Moscow State University, the ski jump in the Vorobyovy (Sparrow) Hills, the mayor's offices at Tverskaya Street and Novy Arbat, the Sport Palace in Luzhniki, the Building on the Embankment, the Kiyevsky railway station and some bridges.
According to the WWF information, 70 Russian cities and about 20,000 Russians will join the event.
In addition to the symbolic light switchoff, an ecological festival will take place in the Russian capital. It will begin at 17:30 on the observation platform in the Sparrow Hills. Visitors wil see an exhibition of environmentally friendly transport and attend a concert there. A special laser stopwatch to the sound of an electronic metronome at 20:29 will begin to count down 60 seconds. At the moment, columns of cyclists with flashlights will ride through central streets, drawing attention of the public to the environmentally friendly kind of transport.
Schoolchildren during the festival in the eco-centre of the Sparrow Hills will have an opportunity to hear a lecture on global environmental problems, participate in an interactive game "the Road to the Future" and with the use of a multimedia terminal to know about the environmental situation in major cities of the world.
Participants in the first Earth Hour in Sydney in 2007 numbered 2.2 million. It has become a global campaign and takes place on all the continents. Last year, 150 countries and about two billion people, including more than 16 million in Russia, joined the event. Among the world-known architectural sites where backlights were turned off were the Buckingham Palace and the House of Parliament in London, the Elysee Palace, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Great Wall of China and others.