MOSCOW TO HOLD TRADITIONAL SUBBOTNIKS

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MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - On April 17 and 24, Moscow holds traditional subbotniks (days of voluntary work) to clean up the city. City residents and workers of public utility services will tidy up Moscow's streets, squares, yards and parks.

A spokesperson for the city's department of municipal services and facilities told RIA Novosti that over 1.5 million people are expected to go out and clean up Russia's capital. In all, the April campaign for improving Moscow's living environment involves as many as 2.5 million people.

A special stress will be made on planting decorative trees, bushes and flowers. Another major task is to give a thorough facelift to the city's buildings: clean and paint the front and plinth walls, entrances, playgrounds, public transport stops, etc.

All voluntary workers will be supplied with necessary tools and implements.

The first subbotnik - a day of voluntary work for public benefit - was held on Saturday, April 12, 1919 on the Moscow-Kazan railway at the initiative of Communists. Subsequently, the days of voluntary labor received the official name of Communist subbotniks and after 1970 were regularly held across the country on one of April's Saturdays. The tradition broke for a few years after the demise of the Soviet Union, to be resumed by the new authorities in the mid-1990s. Subbotniks are now again held all over Russia and in many CIS countries.

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