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Russia Day of the Dead fiesta on Red Square? Over my dead body

Russia may be basking in a rare atmosphere of fun and revelry during the World Cup, but for the authorities, there are limits.

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Mexicans in Moscow prepared for their Day of the Dead parade but were banned from staging the event outdoors as planned play

Mexicans in Moscow prepared for their Day of the Dead parade but were banned from staging the event outdoors as planned

(AFP)

Russia may be basking in a rare atmosphere of fun and revelry during the World Cup, but for the 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, organisers said.

The body of the communist revolutionary Lenin is preserved in a mausoleum on the historic square, with other Russian heroes buried nearby.

The Communists of Russia party complained to the interior ministry 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," spokesman Sergei Malinkovich told AFP.

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.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill's spokesman, Alexander Volkov, speaking on radio, said that holding the parade on the country's main square would be "rather strange."

Red Square is used by President Vladimir Putin to deliver sombre patriotic speeches and show off nuclear missiles on May 9 each year during commemorations of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany.

The Lenin 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.

Many Russians however 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.

'Dead banned dead'

The ban sparked a social media frenzy, with many poking fun at the authorities' conservative streak.

"Jovial celebrations in a dead country are nonsence. Such a country should only hold religious processions and military parades," wrote one commentator, Yevgeny Levkovich.

"The dead banned the dead," quipped Alexey Krzyziewsky.

Organisers said the festivities were moved indoors where some 5,000 people watched them.

"Of course it's sad," Alyona Savelyeva, a representative of the National House of Mexico cultural venue in Moscow told AFP. "We really wanted to hold a parade."

Around 80 masked and costumed revellers -- both Muscovites and Mexicans -- had planned to walk through Red Square and the interest in the event was intense, Savelyeva said.

Celebrated in October and November, the Mexican festival commemorates deceased friends and family.

In 2008, UNESCO recognised its importance by adding it to its list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The World Cup has created an unusual carnival atmosphere in traditionally straight-laced Russia.

Hundreds of thousands of foreigners are visiting at a time of high political tension with the West.

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