MOSCOW, Dec 26 (Reuters) – Outside the gates of Moscow’s Gorky Park, the three Latin letters Z, V and O – frontline military symbols now used to promote the conflict in Ukraine – loom on plinths.
Nearby, traditional festive decorations and a giant decorative bauble jostle for attention as parents and children walk into the park to ice skate or visit cafes.
The “special military operation”, which the Kremlin paints as an existential conflict with the West, has come to predominate over typical holiday decorations in the Russian capital. New Year’s Day is Russia’s main seasonal holiday, while Orthodox believers also celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7.
People walk past New Year decorations and “Z”, “V” and “O” symbols in support of the Russian armed forces involved in the military conflict in Ukraine, in Moscow, Russia December 19, 2022. REUTERS/Evgenia NovozheninaInside the park, there’s a pavilion that contains a studio where people can record New Year and Christmas video messages for troops.
“I am from Moscow. We want our soldiers to come back as soon as possible,” said a girl, whose family did not give her name, in a video message.
Just off Moscow’s busy Tverskaya thoroughfare, children supervised by adults were decorating cardboard boxes with glitter, baubles and images of Christmas trees to send messages and letters to troops.
On Red Square, a pavilion was set up for people to donate gifts and humanitarian aid to troops. Upbeat Soviet-era music played outside, while an elderly lady inside wrote a message of support.
Reporting by Reuters
Editing by Peter Graff