Switching to candle light: Russia goes dark for Earth Hour (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

With the planet turning out the lights in a symbolic Earth Hour event, some 15 million Russians observed it this year, its organizers claim. This is about 40 per cent more than the previous year.

­Moscow’s celebration of the day was centered at Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills), which is located near the campus of the Moscow State University in the city’s southwest.

Thanks to its elevation, it has a spectacular view of the capital’s skyline, so observers were able to clearly see a total of 75 famous structures in Moscow going dark. Those include Luzhniki Stadium just across the Moskva River, Moscow City Hall, several high-standing Stalinist buildings known collectively as the Seven Sisters, (including the university’s central facility), several bridges and Moscow’s Academy of Sciences, among others.

A spectacular celebration took place on the hills themselves, with a fire show, the launch of hundreds of sky lanterns and a laser show.

St. Petersburg’s contribution to Earth Hour was centered at the city’s main Palace Square. The city shut down lighting for the famous bridges across the Neva River, the Winter Palace, Peter and Paul’s Fortress, the Central Naval Museum and other buildings.

Being stretched across nine time zones certainly doesn't hurt Russia during Earth Hour. Whatever risks the sudden changes in power consumption may have are mitigated by the sheer size of Russia’s power grid.

The dimming of lights is a symbolic gesture, calling on people to seek a better balance between humanity’s desire for consumption and the planet’s ability to sustain it.

­This year’s Earth Hour is the sixth consecutive event to take place worldwide.

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Moscow State University (RIA Novossti/Vitaly Belousov)
Moscow State University (RIA Novossti/Vitaly Belousov)

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Shabolovskaya TV tower, Moscow (RIA  Novosti/Maksim Blinov)
Shabolovskaya TV tower, Moscow (RIA Novosti/Maksim Blinov)

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Kievsky Railway Station, Moscow (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)
Kievsky Railway Station, Moscow (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich)

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Radisson Royal Hotel (former Ukraina Hotel), Moscow (RIA Novosti / Ilya Pitalev)
Radisson Royal Hotel (former Ukraina Hotel), Moscow (RIA Novosti / Ilya Pitalev)

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Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow (RIA Novosti / Vitaly Belousov)
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow (RIA Novosti / Vitaly Belousov)