The Moscow authorities have dumped artificial snow in the city centre for New Year festivities, as this is now the Russian capital’s warmest December since 1886. The delivery of snow by dumper truck is causing amusement on social media.
One tweet, from @WildWildMoscow, joked that now “you can buy anything with the Moscow budget – even winter”. It is a far cry from “General Winter” – the famous subzero temperatures that helped to defeat Napoleon and Hitler.
However, a light dusting of snow had fallen by Monday afternoon in Moscow, with more forecast later in the week.
The head of Russia’s weather forecasting agency, Roman Vilfand, says 2019 was Russia’s warmest year on record.
The mild Russian winter is seen as more evidence of global warming – part of a pattern that includes record ice-melting in the polar regions. A strip of artificial snow now lies on one of Moscow’s main avenues – Tverskaya.
Similar snow “dumps” took place at the weekend at Red Square and some other sites in the city centre, which are being closed to traffic for the holiday.
A senior city hall official, Alexei Nemeryuk, said the artificial snow on Tverskaya was “a small amount to create a snowboarding hill in time for the New Year celebrations”.
The snow was made by breaking ice at some of Moscow’s skating rinks, especially the one at VDNKh, a big Soviet-era complex featuring exhibition halls and an amusement park.