Moscow (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, authorities banned Mexicans from holding a “Day of the Dead” parade, in skull makeup and skeleton costumes, on Red Square in Moscow, 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 on Red Square, next to the Kremlin.
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.
Red Square is used by President Vladimir Putin to deliver sombre patriotic speeches and showcase nuclear missiles on May 9 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.
“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.”
Some 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.
The parade was moved indoors, she added.
Celebrated in October and November, the Mexican festival commemorates deceased friends and family.
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.