It was for the first time since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 that a May Day parade organized by Russia’s Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FITU) was held in Moscow’s Red Square.
FITU estimated the possible number of participants at up to 100,000 people. Crowds carrying colorful balloons and banners as well as flowers and Russian and Soviet flags marched through the Red Square.
The procession was led by Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
Smaller May Day parades organized by political parties and nongovernmental organizations were scheduled in various Moscow districts.
The festivities come amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine after Russia annexed Crimea and pro-Russian separatists occupied police and administration buildings in more than a dozen cities in eastern Ukraine.