Maslenitsa in Dublin and London is over, now – not just one but two St. Patrick’s parades walked through the streets of Moscow yesterday. The official one so to speak took place not far from Kiyevskaya tube station to the west of the city centre. As expected, it featured eminent guests (Philip McDonagh, the Irish ambassador to Russia was there), eminent stands and the addresses being delivered in a corresponding manner.

The other one – the devil knows what on Stary Arbat street, which is the traffic-free street at the very heart of the capital. The whole thing contradicts every law known to human but yes – the latter (largely DIY) show was waaaay too thrilling than the official celebration.

It’s not an easy thing to tell whom the Kiyevskaya festival has been addressed to. The road wasn’t fully blocked thus cars were whisking and hooting right under the people’s noses all the time.

Little could be heard from the other side of the road where the festivities took place, and even lesser could be seen. The honourable stand across the road was the place the participants gave their smiles and wavings to, and the rest were the humble lot.

Those trying to get over the half-busy half-empty road looking for a better location were effectively stopped by the policemen. And a little touch to the overall picture – no pipers were performing at this St. Patrick’s parade.

Before we’re going to move further, a here’s a couple of essential photos for you, taken on that day.

Essential photo #1. Kiyevskaya parade. Militiamen, vehicles, kokoshniks, and bigwig business trucks. With all due respect, Pepsi or DHL are not best-known as Irish brands.


Essential photo #2. Stary Arbat, there’s no need to say anything else here.

I don’t know who these folks that set up this show are but they’re good. An hour and a half with pipes, drums, fairytale outfits, stilts and make up – that was breathtaking. Lots of smiles everywhere and what’s really important, it was made for everyone to take part in.

There’s a longer version of the parade to be available this week or so, I’ll get to that as soon as I can. In the meantime – let listen to what it feels like walking within the St. Patrick’s procession on Stary Arbat in Moscow.

‘Joyce rule! Ireland! I love this lightning pole’ – where else could one hear this?

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Recorded March 21st, 2010
Published March 22nd, 2010 (5.2 mb).

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