A snowy wonderland for some and a sludge-filled inner circle of hell for others, the Russian winter is an inevitable part of any expat’s experience. Learn more about the white season’s alarms and surprises.
When journalist Axier Amo Izarra moved to Moscow from his native Spain one year ago, surviving his first winter proved a challenge.
“We think that in northern Spain where I’m from it can get cold – but it’s nothing compared to Moscow,” Axier told RT.
The severity of Russian winters has long been legendary. Historians note that the country’s frost helped defeat the armies of Napoleon and Hitler. Indeed, Moscow winters can be harsh and far from being a picture postcard with sparkling snow and sunshine.
Although it might be tempting not to even venture outside or pile on shapeless, heavy clothing to keep out the cold, for fashion-lovers like student Elena Izhitskaya, the big freeze is not enough to dampen her spirits or make her ditch her sky-high heels.
“Russian women always want to look good, no matter what the weather,” Elena said. “So they can wear heels even on icy streets! It’s in our blood! To survive our winter, try to have fun and enjoy it!”
Coping with the cold may run in Russian blood, but even if you were not born and bred in Moscow, you can have your own recipe for enjoying the city’s snowy season.
For New Yorker Brad Garine, from the New York Bakery, when it comes to beating the frost, nothing beats a steaming cookie or a mouth-watering cheesecake fresh from the oven.
Brad says that when he decided to bring a taste of New York to Moscow, he was not put off by the Russian winter.
“It’s just part of life. We’ve lived in Miami and in Los Angeles, there the weather is very constant all year round and that becomes quite boring, too. Here you have some change of seasons, winter is just part of that and it certainly hasn’t stopped us from being here and enjoying life!” Brad told RT.
So whether you opt for a tea and a cookie or go for some outdoor thrills, there are ways to make the most of the freezing temperatures. Just remember to wrap up warm – and enjoy!