100,000 gather in central Moscow to celebrate Crimea reunification

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the rally and concert We Are Together staged at Vasilyevsky Slope to mark the first anniversary of Crimea's reunification with Russia, March 18, 2015. (RIA Novosti /
 Sergey Guneev)
Some 100,000 people, according to police estimates, gathered near Red Square in Moscow on Wednesday to celebrate the anniversary of Crimea's reunification with Russia. President Putin joined the event and sang the Russian national anthem on stage.

READ MORE: Coming home: Crimea marks 1 year since voting to rejoin Russia

AFP Photo/Maxim Shipenkov

The gala show, titled "We are together", included a rally and a concert. It was organized by Moscow City Hall. Marking a year since Crimea joined Russia, the rally was attended by over 100,000 participants, RIA Novosti reported.

People carrying various hand-made posters gathered at the city's famous landmark, Vasilievsky Spusk, near the Kremlin walls. A range of Russian singers performed on stage in front of the huge audience.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the rally and concert We Are Together staged at Vasilyevsky Slope to mark the first anniversary of Crimea's reunification with Russia, March 18, 2015. (RIA Novosti / Michael Klimentyev)

President Vladimir Putin attended the rally, and appeared on stage to personally congratulate everyone gathered to mark the occasion.

"A year ago, the Russian people demonstrated amazing equanimity and patriotism in supporting the people of Crimea and Sevastopol in returning to their native land. We, all together, then realized and felt with our hearts and minds how important the link of history and generations is," Putin said, adding that such historical and "spiritual" connections make people a united nation.

Citizens in Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the peninsula, voted for independence from Ukraine at a March 16 referendum in 2014. With the region being home to an ethnic majority of Russians, 97 percent of the population (1.2 million people) refused to recognize Ukraine's new government, which came to power after the Maidan protests, and voted for reunification with Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the rally and concert We Are Together staged at Vasilyevsky Slope to mark the first anniversary of Crimea's reunification with Russia, March 18, 2015. (RIA Novosti/Michael Klimentyev)