Krasnodar, April 2, Interfax - Advocates of Russia's cultural and spiritual revival held a massive rally in Krasnodar on Saturday in protest against the scandalous "punk prayer," staged at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral by the Pussy Riotrock group.
The chairman of the inter-regional Orthodox Union, Roman Plyuta, told Interfax 4,900 people were expected to join the rally.
"I think the number of people who have in fact gathered is about the same. I would describe the event as public festivities in support of the country's cultural and spiritual revival rather than a rally, and it was prompted by the discussion following thePussy Riot 'punk prayer' rather than the 'punk prayer' itself," he said.
Krasnodar police spokesman Ilya Shakalov told Interfax that over 10,000 people joined the rally. "They have arrived from different parts of the Krasnodar territory. The rally passed off without incident," Shakalov said.
First, performers gave a concert and then a rally was held, attended by activists of public organizations, including the Learning society, the Center of Ethnic Cultures, and the Kuban Cossack Army. The rally was addressed by Vice Governor Nikolay Doluda.
An exhibit of pieces of folk arts opened, and field kitchens offered visitors buckwheat meal with onions.
Signatures were collected in support of a plan to form the Movement for Faith, for Kuban and for Fatherland, which pledged to campaign in support of traditional cultural and moral values. Some held flags and posters with inscriptions calling for the country's moral revival and deploring moral decay.
Several organizations, among them the Orthodox Union, had earlier urged local residents to join the rally.
"A blasphemous clownery profaned an Orthodox Church. Nothing can guarantee that the 'punk prayer' will not be repeated in a synagogue or a mosque, insulting believers, our history and traditions. Similar actions are shockingly spreading like plague elsewhere in the country. Just a few days ago gays bathed naked in a fountain inside Moscow's GUM shopping center," an appeal says.