Russians had Monday and Tuesday off for May 1. As usual, the holiday was advertised on billboards and flyers all over the city. We took advantage of Tuesday's Embassy holiday to take a long walk around the city and see some of the marches.
The communists gathered under a large statue of Lenin at a major intersection near Gorky Park. The marchers wore designer jeans, and the father of the USSR Lenin was overshadowed by huge signs hawking Hitachi and Canon, yet I was reminded powerfully of snippets of memories from 25 years ago that still lurk in my brain. Though the government has tried to recast May 1 as a holiday both of workers AND spring planting, there were many indications that the Soviet Union isn't quite dead.
As many roads were closed to traffic, we wove the Phil and Ted in and out of lane markings, down a large thoroughfare somewhat eerily flanked by hundreds of Moscow's finest. We learned later that Putin and Medvedev were both to walk that route alongside one of the marching groups.
There were other marches, too. And while the communists' parade route was staffed by unarmed police, the balloon-carriers got armed militia. Things that make you go hmmm.