Article British journalist Will Stewart (Will Stewart)
- If the Russians are beginning to complain about the weather - so the matter seriously.
For several days in Moscow night temperatures drop below -30 degrees Celsius, and by the time you read this, the Russian capital is the lowest all-time temperature of minus 41 degrees.
The average Briton has never faced with such a cold. And let me tell you, it is not necessary to it and seek.
First you freeze the nostrils, because of what begins to scratch his nose, and every breath is accompanied by pain. Then, on your eyelashes appear frost that gets frozen in ice cubes, scratching the eyeball every time you blink. All exposed skin burn and ache as if you slapped. Feet and hands quickly covered by a dull ache.
Those who wear glasses often find that they stick to the face, and when they tear off, there is blood.
Imagine that you have got in the fridge ... So, here I am now much, much colder.
Despite the fact that you are dressed in several layers of clothing, you lose energy at a tremendous speed. Even a short trip to the store for supplies is becoming a matter of life or death.
Yesterday, one man, who was talking on his cell phone, got frostbite to four fingers. Many mobile phones and cash registers stop working. Street lighting is extinguished in order to save electricity. Yes, of course, the Russians are accustomed to the cold - but not to the same.
For the last night, killing seven people, and no one knows how many bodies lying in the snow, covered with Moscow.
And, as always, the weather once again shows the unique features of the Russians ...
Yesterday, according to the Orthodox calendar was Epiphany, and hundreds of intrepid Russians stripped and made a ceremony of immersion in ice water to celebrate the baptism of Christ.
Many bathed at midnight, when the temperature drops to the lowest mark.
"God bless Russia!" - Shouted 28-year-old Gennady Mordvintsev diving into the water. He soon appeared, all covered with ice.
"That's why Americans can not understand Russian, - said the politician-neo-fascist Vladimir Zhirinovsky after swimming in the family shorts flowered. - We're doing this for thousands of years! »
Nearby was an employee of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Valery Gritskov, armed and ready to pull the sixth of any bather, which fell through the ice.
In general, Moscow has a strong company, however, by Russian standards, it was nothing special. In Yakutia, in eastern Siberia, members of the Federation of hardening and winter swimming swim at -52 degrees.
In contrast to the UK where some snowflakes cause chaos in Russia, there were no reports about the cancellation of flights, almost all trains and buses ran on time.
Some enterprising Muscovites walked along the rows of cars have risen, offering rental wires for the "Booster».
However, there is one important thing that helps to survive the Russian winter - a vodka ... and not just for people.
In Yaroslavl, located 160 kilometers north of the capital, three Indian elephants from the circus gave alcohol to help them cope with frost. And yesterday in Moscow zoo elephant got a bucket of vodka to keep warm. Unfortunately, the elephant was drunk and began to brawl broke and the heating system.
Vodka - which, according to locals, does not freeze, if it is true - in some zoos also proved necessary for the camels, wild boar and deer. In Lipetsk macaques wrap in fur clothing, and gave cheap red wine to help cope with the cold.
Meanwhile, many children do not go to school - the parents were allowed to leave the kids at home, if the temperature drops below 30 degrees Celsius, although some schools continued to operate, despite the cold. Worked and market traders ... "We must continue to work, otherwise we do not earn money," - said Dmitry, who was five o'clock in the cold selling vegetables.
The secret is to adapt to the circumstances. For example, some people remove the batteries from their vehicles and carry them home to heat.
The situation saves that most of the apartments in Moscow, coming through the pipes is heated with hot water. This system is a legacy of Communism, which the residents at this time of year are very grateful.
While the temperature reached the lowest indicators 1927, electricity consumption reached a peak of 15 years. Almost every tenth shop was left without electricity. In offices, many workers are sitting in the dark in front of flickering computer monitors.
Vagrants and homeless people were allowed to stay warm railway stations. Inspectors traffic police issued boots, so they do not feel cold during the service.
However, the soldiers of the Kremlin regiment were not so lucky. On duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin wall they have to stand in their normal shoes. "Of course, we take care of our soldiers - said the representative of the regiment Sergey Levyatov. - But there are no boots. They wear wool socks ».
From late October to date in Moscow from the cold dead 116 people.
"The situation is unique, says the director of the Hydrometeorological Center of Russia Roman Vilfand. - The duration of the cold or becomes a record, or closer to that ».
Do not come if the cold in the UK? Despite appearing in recent days some sensational reports, meteorologists say that although the weekend and temperatures will fall, it will only mean the end of the current period and a soft return to normal winter temperatures.
Now think about those who live in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. There the temperature dropped to -61 degrees, a record, because of which were suspended drilling on fields "Noyabrskneftegas».
However, stoicism shown by the Russians in such extreme conditions, can help understand why the invasion of Napoleon and Hitler failed. It also explains why so many Russians eating ice cream. At such temperatures, it helps you stay warm.