Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the third Russian Winter Festival in London’s Trafalgar Square later today.
The festival will include a mix of music and other live performances and other attractions and takes place on the eve of the Russian ‘Old New Year’ which was originally celebrated before 1917.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone will speak at the event alongside Russian officials including Russian Ambassador Yuri Fedotov and Deputy Mayor of Moscow Valery Vinogradov.
Mr Livingstone said today’s event “underlines the friendship and the economic and cultural links that have been established between the Russian people and the people of London since the fall of the Iron Curtain.”
London’s Russian speaking community is estimated to number 200,000 with Russian visitors to the capital spending £180m in 2005 making them the third most important group of VAT exempt shoppers in the West End.
The Mayor said the festival was “an example of how London welcomes the culture of every part of the world to our city and that we see culture and business going hand in hand.”
Since the restoration of Londonwide government Trafalgar Square has hosted a growing number of free events celebrating important events in the calendars of London’s diverse communities.
The festival has been organised by Eventica with the support of the Russian Economic Forum and the Mayor of London’s office.