Gorky Park has agreed to host a flash mob on Saturday "in support of the Crimea and Sevastopol," where Russian-speaking residents have rallied for secession from Ukraine to Russia.
While the political nature and apparent government approval of the gathering seem to contradict the spirit of a flash mob, organizers have otherwise taken the term quite literally: In an announcement posted on the VKontakte social network, they asked participants to bring flashlights.
The event, titled the "Light of Unity," will begin on the Krymsky Most — or Crimea Bridge — with participants shining their flashlights, photo cameras, or any other sources of electrical light onto the waters of the Moscow River below, the VKontakte announcement said.
Participants then plan to march toward Gorky Park, which has agreed to host up to 1,000 “flash-mobbers” between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m, the park said on its website.
Fireworks and any sources of open flame will be prohibited, the organizers said, adding that "violators will be [thrown into] the river."
It was announced later Friday that a rally in support of the Crimea's Russian population would also be held in the park Saturday afternoon, from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. Up to 2000 people will be permitted to attend the event, the park website said.
The Crimea, which has a large Russian-speaking population, was part of Russia before Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev handed it over to the then-Soviet republic of Ukraine in 1954.
Many Russians still bemoan the loss of their favorite Black Sea resort, supporting demonstrators in the Crimea who have rallied this week for secession to Russia after pro-European protesters overthrew Ukraine's Moscow-backed government in Kiev.