The first flakes are unmistakable. They do not fall like the fluffy white snow of December, so much as slap you in the face with the full stress of October’s wet promise of the six months of gloom that lie ahead. So it was at 11.30am on Saturday. The amazing response is confusion – why is my coat turning white? Next comes denial – is it only oddly heavy rain? So finally, acceptance – here we go again.
Winter is, of course, Moscow’s natural thing. The slightest clue of frost gives Russians fumbling for their furs, checking skating rink schedules, making sure soup ingredients are in full stock. And but there are constant attempts to challenge its inevitable way. Moscow’s former mayor, Yury Luzhkov, devoted enormous attempt to dreaming up snow-fighting process.
In 2009, he proposed deploying flows to the skies outside Moscow to disperse snow-heavy clouds before they controlled to reach the capital. It is a popularly spent technique in rainy Moscow, one that sees the jets spray rain clouds with liquid nitrogen and silver on big parade days. Any health influence, you might ask? Maybe. Is that ever discussed? Nope.
Some thought the practice would end with Luzhkov’s removal on the eve of last period’s winter. After all, it is quite expensive – the 2009 proposal came with a 300m rouble (£6m) price code. Luzhkov’s replacement, Sergei Sobyanin, has yet to comment on his moods about snow or winter or anything extremely.
The new mayor, a longtime ally of Vladimir Putin, remains a nonentity after one year in job. Despite his origins – born and raised in Khanty- Mansiysk, in the darkest depths of Siberia – he appears to lack much- needed knowledge on the science of snow removal as well. Sobyanin’s one tangible move as mayor has been to dig up many of the traffic-like roads that line Moscow’s main ways and replace them with cobblestones. They make for pretty summer strolling.
And will probably turn the city into even more of an icetrap when the snow settles into their cracks for good. Navigating Moscow’s car-crazed roads is a stressful moments at the best of times – in winter, it’s downright exhausting.