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Over 5 mln people take part in nationwide Russia Day celebrations

About 40,000 police officers were on duty to ensure public safety

MOSCOW, June 13. /TASS/. More than 5 million people took part in some 4,200 festivities all across Russia to mark the Russia Day, the Russian Interior Ministry’s official spokesperson, Irina Volk, told TASS late on Wednesday.

"Festive rallies, concerts and festivals to mark the Russia Day took place all over the country. More than 5 million people attended over 4,200 events," she said.

About 40,000 police officers, together with Russian Guard officers, volunteer public security patrols and private security firm employees were on duty on Wednesday to ensure public order and safety during those events.

"Public order was maintained in full during those celebrations," Volk said.

The declaration of Russia’s sovereignty was passed by the 1st Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on June 12, 1990, 29 years ago. The day was later announced as the national holiday by the presidential decree. The official name, Russia Day, was given to the holiday in 2002.

Celebrations in Moscow

In the Russian capital, more than 30,000 people gathered for on the iconic Red Square for celebrations, which included a gala concert.

The concert brought together Russian pop stars, including this year’s Eurovision contestant from Russia Sergei Lazarev, as well as numerous folk music and dance groups.

During the concert, a live video linkup was established with the International Space Station, and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Alexei Ovchinin delivered a congratulatory speech.

The festivities concluded with the national anthem and a fireworks display at the Vasilyevsky Slope, adjoining the Red Square.

Local celebrations

Festive events were also held in cities and towns all over the country. In many of them, celebrations involved the national flag. For example, in the eastern Siberian city of Irkutsk, a 50-meter-long tricolor was carried along the city streets. Besides, a motorcade of about 30 vehicles painted blue, white and red, travelled across the central part of the city.

A group of about 200 people carried a giant national flag in the northwestern Russian city of Petrozavodsk. The 80-meter-long flag was unfurled in Saransk, the capital of the Volga Area republic of Mordovia.

In Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Volga area republic of Tatarstan, the Russian flag was hoisted on a 50-meter-tall pole in the Victory Park.

Celebrations in the Western Siberian region of Yamal coincided with the return of the Russian flag from its eight-year-long journey across the world. The campaign, headlined "Tricolor Around the World," began in April 2011 in Portugal and completed in Lebanon earlier this week.

"Russian compatriots abroad handed over the flag to each other. They wrote messages on it and made photographs of it near local landmarks," the region’s department of external ties said.