Muscovites took part in a 'dress rehearsal' of the Free Hugs flash mob. Young women and men approached strangers at one of the capital's shopping centers, pulling out a sign that said, "Hug me!"
Those ready to take the initiative into own hands were welcome to come up to the person carrying the "Hug me!" sign and embrace each other.
Muscovites, known to show restraint in public, were reluctant to give and receive hugs from strangers, according to media reports.
The campaign lasted two hours and was organized by young activists from the Healthy Family movement. The happening at the shopping center was an overture to the large-scale event scheduled to take place on January 21.
National Hug Day is an annual holiday created back in 1986 by Reverend Kevin Zaborney from Caro, Michigan. It occurs on January 21 and is officially recognized by the United States Copyright Office.
The challenge for chose to celebrate it is to encourage others to show positive emotions in public in a world torn with aggression, hatred and suffering.