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Moscow has opted to cancel its St Patrick’s Day parade apparently as part of the city’s effort to  stop traffic jams.

The holiday has become popular in the Russian city, especially after the first Irish pub opened in the early 1990s.  The annual parade has been in operation for 19 years.

Organizers were forced to cancel this year’s event after talks with Moscow city government headed by new mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

"It is hoped that this decision will assist the local authorities in executing priority traffic congestion policies under the new mayor," the organizers said.

They added that "unpredictable extremes in weather conditions" had also been a factor in canceling the parade.

Moscow’s city government press service stressed that it did not order the cancellation.

“We did not ban anyone from doing anything," a spokesman told the Interfax news agency.

Visit our special St. Patrick's Day section