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Moscow Cancels Maslenitsa Festivities, Declares Day of Mourning After Plane Crash

Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS

Moscow authorities have canceled traditional festivities that mark the last week before Lent following Sunday’s deadly plane crash outside the Russian capital.

Authorities declared Feb. 12 a day of mourning for all 71 victims of the An-148 Saratov Airlines plane crash. The regional passenger jet went down four minutes after takeoff from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport on Sunday afternoon. Feb. 12 also marks the start of Maslenitsa, a traditional Russian folk festival with pagan roots that celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring, known as Pancake Week.

Moscow City Hall announced on its website that Maslenitsa festivities would be canceled for Monday in respect for the victims of the deadly crash.

The tragedy has led to state-controlled television networks to take down entertainment programming, the state-run TASS news agency reported Sunday, citing Channel One and NTV.

Investigators are pursuing several leads that may have caused the crash, including bad weather, human error and poor maintenance of the plane.

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