The leading New Year’s/Christmas tree in all of Russia will come from a forest in Zvenigorod in the Moscow Oblast. This year, there were 15 contenders for this position, and all of them had the necessary attributes, they were all tall and broad, with green fluffy branches. A special commission went about the forests of the Moscow Oblast from the beginning of autumn; they were looking for the best of the best trees to the leading Christmas tree in the country. As a result of their work, the commissioners each assembled a portfolio of the eligible candidates, according to Igor Parkhomenko, the first deputy head of the Government of the Moscow oblast. “We assembled a fairly extensive list of trees and all of them possess the necessary qualities. They are from different areas with quite distinct topography. What unites them all is that they are all very beautiful”.
For many years, the Kremlin Christmas tree came from the legendary home of Ded Moroz (Grandpa Father Frost) in Veliki Ustyug. This is only the second year since the Moscow government returned to a tradition of the time of Tsar Pyotr Veliki, when the New Year tree came from the forests of the Moscow Oblast. The pre-revolutionary tradition of placing the New Year tree on the Kremlin’s Cathedral Square was revived twelve years ago. The current Kremlin tree is some 110-years-old, it is more than 30 metres tall, the branches spread out for approximately 16 metres, and it has a thick straight trunk and large downy “paws” (branches). Large garlands are going to be hung on the tree, said Viktor Savchenko, an official of the Office of the President of the Russian Federation. “You always want something new for the holidays. This year, we bought new garlands. We examined the branches, and they look strong enough to hold them”. So far, the chosen tree still stands in the Zvenigorod forest and it is scheduled to be felled on 19 December. Now, a road is being prepared so that a 40-metre trailer-truck can haul away the tree. Once the tree is cut down, it will take two more days to carefully pack and load it on the truck. Then, on 25 December, the fluffy tree will greet guests in the Kremlin from all over Russia.
15 December 2008
Voice of Russia World Service