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    VITEBSK TO HOST INTERNATIONAL FOLK-ART FESTIVAL

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    MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) - Vitebsk is to host the Slavic Bazaar interational folk-art festival July 15-21. Talking to RIA Novosti, officials at the Belarussian Embassy in Moscow said this year's festival had the following motto "Peace Ode"; the 60-th anniversary of liberating Belarus from Nazi invaders is perceived as the main national event of the 2004 period.

    As a rule, the Vitebsk festival features gala concerts involving famous Belarussian, Russian and Ukrainian performers, as well as international contests of young performers and young artists; their content and format keep changing each year.

    European presidential and brass bands will parade through the streets of Vitebsk on the festival's first day. After that, festival participants, representatives of foreign state and public organizations, as well as diplomats, will lay wreaths at an obelisk to Red Army soldiers on the banks of the Dvina River.

    The festival program stipulates various public-political events; among other things, it's intended to organize presentation ceremonies involving big Belarussian publications and electronic mass-media bodies.

    The so-called Artisans' Town on the main city square will feature an applied-art exhibition involving participants of the Belarussian-Russian "We Can Do More Together" festival of handicapped persons.

    Vitebsk is also going to celebrate its 1,030-th anniversary soon enough; this event will feature a night-time poetical performance called "Lovers Over The City" involving Belarussian actors and festival guests.

    Moreover, the festival will feature a concert devoted to the 90-th birthday of popular Soviet composer Mark Fradkin, who is a native of Vitebsk.

    An international youth forum involving representatives of public youth organizations and prominent foreign politicians will take place on the final day of the festival.

    Festival participants will receive special diplomas of the Union State's Permanent Committee and valuable gifts during the official closing ceremony in line with a long-standing tradition; these awards will be presented for the greatest contribution to enhancing friendship between Belarussian and Russian nations. The youngest pop singer will receive a prize of the Russian-Belarussian Parliamentary Assembly; this, too, is perceived as a long-standing festival tradition.

    This is the thirteenth Slavic Bazaar festival, which symbolizes culture ties between Belarussian, Russian and Ukrainian nations.

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