Russia might be basking in a rare atmosphere of fun and revelry during the FIFA World Cup, but for authorities, there are limits.
On Friday, Mexicans were banned from holding a Day of the Dead parade — in skull makeup and skeleton costumes — on Red Square next to the Kremlin, organizers said.
The body of Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin is preserved in a mausoleum on the historic square, with other Russian heroes buried nearby.
The Communists of Russia party complained to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs when Mexicans unveiled plans to stage their parade there.
A party spokesman said the Mexican festivities would offend Russians.
“Crowds of Mexican louts would have passed by the necropolis of the country’s best people wearing costumes of smiling skeletons, jumping, dancing, tooting horns, ringing bells, flirting and playing love games,” Sergei Malinkovich said.
Party leader Maxim Suraikin reportedly said that if Mexicans were allowed to have their way, then “tomorrow some African tribes would want to perform sacrificial rituals on Red Square.”
Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church also voiced their displeasure.
Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill’s spokesman, Alexander Volkov said on the radio that holding the parade on the country’s main square would be “rather strange.”
Red Square has used by Russian President Vladimir Putin to deliver somber patriotic speeches and to show off nuclear missiles on May 9 each year during commemorations of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany.
Lenin’s Mausoleum contains the embalmed remains of the leader of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution on display.
The nearby Kremlin wall is the final resting place of Soviet-era leaders, scientists and cosmonauts, including Yury Gagarin, the first human in space.
However, many Russians said they loved the idea, quipping that communists should be the last people to complain.
“They themselves have a dead man without insides lying in the mausoleum,” Russian TV journalist Andrey Malosolov said on Facebook.
The ban sparked a social media frenzy, with many poking fun at the authorities’ conservative streak.
“Jovial celebrations in a dead country are nonsense. Such a country should only hold religious processions and military parades,” Yevgeny Levkovich wrote.
“The dead banned the dead,” Alexey Krzyziewsky said.
The festivities were moved indoors, where about 5,000 people watched them, organizers said.
“Of course it’s sad,” said Alyona Savelyeva, a representative of the National House of Mexico cultural venue in Moscow. “We really wanted to hold a parade.”
About 80 masked and costumed revelers — both Muscovites and Mexicans — had planned to walk through Red Square and the interest in the event was intense, Savelyeva said.
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