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Madonna might change concert venue

Monday, August 28, 2006

Moscow (Reuters): Pop star Madonna is due to stage her first concert in Russia at Moscow University next month, but due to crowd control fears, she might have to perform instead at an airfield where suicide bombers once killed 15 concertgoers. Madonna is due to perform before 35,000 fans in a square by the university, one of seven towering Stalin-era ''wedding cake'' buildings just south of the Moscow River. But police expect about 250,000 fans to flock to the concert and have called for the event to be moved to the Tushino airfield -- where Chechen suicide bombers killed 15 spectators at a rock concert three years ago, organisers said yesterday.

''I can confirm only that talks will continue with the Moscow city administration,'' said Anton Atrashkin, press spokesman for Madonna's Russia concert. ''The talks are about conditions for Madonna's concert in Moscow.'' A police statement this week said that owing to public order concerns and a crowd expected to exceed 100,000, ''there is only one choice at this time, which is Tushino airfield''. Tushino, on Moscow's northwestern edge, is frequently used for events attracting large crowds. Police yesterday also detained several members of a youth group linked to Russia's Orthodox church for distributing pamphlets calling on people to boycott Madonna's concert. The Russian Orthodox church, which takes a conservative stand on many social issues, has been among world religions to criticise Madonna's use of a crucifix in her shows.

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