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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 May, 2003, 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Protest over Beatle in Moscow
Sir Paul McCartney
This is McCartney's first tour of Russia

Sir Paul McCartney's planned concert in Moscow's Red Square has been called "blasphemous" by a number of Russian politicians.

Communist and nationalist deputies said the 24 May concert was an insult to the memory of communist leaders, such as Lenin and Stalin, who are buried there.

"We find it absolutely senseless and blasphemous to hold rock concerts in a special graveyard where Stalin, Lenin, Brezhnev, Gagarin, and other prominent personalities are buried," an open letter to Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov said.

The deputies have asked the mayor to ban the show.

Sir Paul's concert would be only the second time the ex-Beatle had played in Russia.

He is due to play a concert in St Petersburg on 22 May.

'Covert meaning'

"A rock concert on Red Square has a covert political meaning and would require the deployment of a significant number of police and security forces," the letter said.

The signatories warned the concert could lead to a political scandal.

The Beatles' music was officially banned during the Soviet era, and though Sir Paul said he had tried to play before, he had always been refused.

The concert will feature a 36-song set including many Beatles songs, among them Back in the USSR.

Sir Paul said he planned to teach a rock master class to music students while he was in St Petersburg.

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12 May 03  |  Entertainment
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