MOSCOW — Flaunting the perquisites of incumbency, Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin shut down major thoroughfares, deployed tens of thousands of security troops and struck up the bands Wednesday for half a million revelers in a holiday hurrah wrapping up his reelection campaign in the capital.
Picture-perfect weather and the stunning backdrop of the Kremlin towers and St. Basil's Cathedral seemed to dispel Muscovites' jitters a day after a deadly subway bombing that investigators have deemed political terrorism.
However, legions of camouflage-clad troops patrolling the city served as reminders of the risk of further violence as Russians head into the home stretch for Sunday's hotly contested election.
Yeltsin made a brief but rousing address to the mass of supporters and strollers on Red Square for the evening street party, confidently predicting victory and applauding the people's preference for "liberty and human dignity."
His final Moscow campaign appearance before heading for his native Yekaterinburg was an impressive display of the powers enjoyed by the Russian head of state.
A holiday was declared to celebrate five years of independence and put the public in a festive mood. No traffic moved for most of the afternoon and evening along miles of normally jammed central streets.
So many thousands of police, soldiers and special forces units were deployed for crowd control that human ribbons of green encircled and sectioned off the crowd that spread across nearly a square mile.
Popular rock and pop bands warmed up the sun-splashed party-goers before the president appeared on the stage that was hung with placards declaring: "Russia will be great. People will be free. Yeltsin will be president."
Yeltsin and Moscow Mayor Yuri M. Luzhkov blamed the Tuesday subway bombing that killed four passengers on anti-democratic forces, hinting that Communist extremists were behind the incident.
But the Communist Party challenger, Gennady A. Zyuganov, likewise used the tragedy to take a stab at his chief opponent. He blamed lax security and weak leadership for the incident, describing the blast as "another manifestation of several years of free-for-all politics."
Zyuganov, who has lately been trailing Yeltsin in opinion polls, suggested that the bombing was staged to provide a pretext for canceling elections.
Most of the massive camera-toting crowd, clad largely in designer sunglasses and stylish sportswear, predicted a democratic triumph in the election.
"Yeltsin will win--we're quite sure of it," said Marina Vershinskaya, a 42-year-old engineer. "What's important is that we have a chance for decent lives now. We have possibilities."
At a rally for ultranationalist firebrand Vladimir V. Zhirinovsky earlier in the day, the atmosphere was measurably more sober and menacing.
"It is clear to me who stands behind this atrocious act of terrorism in the Moscow Metro--Yeltsin and his gang, who are scared of the opposition," said Olga Shubina, a 47-year-old dry-cleaning employee wearing a pin bearing Zhirinovsky's likeness.