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Cities across Russia are switching into high gear to prepare for an international youth festival early next year that is expected to attract thousands of up-and-coming young leaders from across the globe in various fields, with a major run-up conference to take place in Moscow on Tuesday.

Celebrations marking 100 days before the kick-off of the World Youth Festival are set to unfold at Moscow’s All-Russian Exhibition Center, VDNH, where participants will have a chance to explore the opportunities open to Russian youth and see their achievements.

Prominent speakers at the conference include Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova and Ksenia Razuvaeva, the head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, as well as several renowned Russian athletes and artists.

More than a dozen major Russian cities across the country will join in the festivities, including by changing the illumination of some their landmarks to reflect the theme of the festival. Notably, the initiative will also be supported by Donetsk, a frontline Russian city that has been under relentless Ukrainian attacks since 2014.

Meanwhile, Russia is not the only country preparing for the World Youth Festival, which will be held in the southern Krasnodar Region between February 29 and March 7, 2024. According to the event’s organizers, more than 70 countries have already set up preparatory committees, and more than 250,000 young people from 183 nations have applied to take part. Additionally, 50,000 people have applied to volunteer at the festival.

The World Youth Festival is being prepared in accordance with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree on the development of international youth cooperation. The event is expected to draw 20,000 young leaders in a wide range of fields, including business, media, education, sports, culture and charity, half of whom will be from foreign countries.

One of the groundbreaking features of the festival is that it could bring in a total of 1,000 minors aged 14-17 from Russia and abroad.

With more than three months to go before the festival, young dancers from Moscow who are set to participate made their debut performance at the Opera Ball in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as part of a cultural program that featured performances by several world-class artists, including Italian tenors Riccardo Massi and Vittorio Grigolo.