For a second week Russia has been making international news even though its political life remains close to hibernation. Arctic air has spread over its vast territory, bringing bitterly cold temperatures that most cities have not seen for the last 25 years. Moscow, with daytime temperatures close to -300C, was some ten degrees warmer than Ekaterinburg in the Urals and Novosibirsk in South-Western Siberia; yet several past winters were quite mild in the capital, so the "ice age" has caught Muscovites by surprise. Residents in the capital have been by and large taking this anomaly stoically, trading jokes about discovering the sense in staying overnight in the office and setting on fire the organizations campaigning against global warming (Moskovskii komsomolets, January 19). There are, nevertheless, growing worries about the ability of the city of 10 million to keep house warm and industries running, particularly as the weather will worsen after a brief respite this past weekend (Kommersant, January 21).
Read it in Eurasia Daily Monitor