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Fans Await Madonna's Moscow Debut


U.S. pop music star Madonna is scheduled to entertain tens of thousands of fans in Moscow, Tuesday night, in her first concert in Russia. The show had been scheduled for September 11 - the fifth anniversary of the U.S. terrorist attacks - but was changed amid concerns the date was inappropriate.

Madonna's much-awaited debut in Moscow is set to take place Tuesday night at Moscow's Luzhniki Olympic complex, amid tight security.

The original plans called for the concert to be held on September 11 on a hilltop near Moscow State University. Those plans were scrapped amid worries police could not handle the security. There were also fears students at the nearby university, who could not afford the ticket price, might fall from their windows as they strained to hear Madonna's music.

There was then a brief discussion about holding the concert at the vast Tushino airfield, in northwestern Moscow. But that was the site where female Chechen separatists strapped with explosives killed 15 people during a summer rock festival in 2003.

Madonna's concert has drawn a series of protests from the Russian Orthodox Church, which accuses the pop star of inappropriately exploiting Christian symbols. In one such protest, demonstrators ripped up posters advertising the singer's upcoming concert and symbolically drove a stake through her picture.

Various protesters have said they would like Madonna to drop the number in which she sings wearing a crown of thorns, hitched to a wooden cross, in a mock crucifixion.

The protesters say the song is offensive and insults Christians.

But if this hit song is any indication, it would appear Madonna is used to the complaints, or has heard them all before.

Madonna's Confessions concert in Moscow has been sold out for weeks, with some street prices now as high as several thousand dollars.

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