Moscow, 5 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - President Boris Yeltsin praised Moscow and its inhabitants today as the Russian capital gears up for celebrations marking the 850th anniversary of its founding.
In a nationwide radio address today, Yeltsin said Moscow was becoming more comfortable and pleasant by the day. Yeltsin, who is from the Urals, said Moscow had always been a magnet, drawing the most talented Russians from all corners of the vast country.
Yeltsin also had warm words for Moscow's Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, the driving force behind the weekend's celebrations, saying he was stronger and more energetic than any other civic leader in Russia. He also praised Luzhkov's restoration of historic buildings and monuments, singling out the huge Cathedral of Christ the Saviour whose golden domes now tower over central Moscow.
Yeltsin said Moscow was the spiritual center of Russia and that the country's destiny was inextricably bound up with that of the capital. The President is scheduled to attend a ceremony later today marking the official opening of the weekend's festivities that includes concerts, discotheques and parades. Millions of people, including many foreign delegations, are expected in Moscow for the celebrations.