Moscow has been so warm this winter that authorities have had to bring piles of artificial snow to the city centre to raise people’s spirits.
One Instagram user posted a picture of a sad-looking mound of slush near the Kremlin, captioned: ‘This is all the snow there is in Moscow. It’s being guarded in Red Square.’
The Russian capital is set for its warmest December, and possibly its warmest winter, since modern records began.
Temperatures of 5.6C, 6.5C and 6.2C on December 18, 19 and 23 – icy compared to the UK – were in fact the warmest since 1886.
Normally the December average is about -6C and the capital tends to be draped in snow by now.
Footage of a snowboarding hill being delivered for a New Year’s Day display went viral on social media.
Authorities said the snow was made by shredding old ice from a local skating rink.
An official told a local radio station: ‘The machines are cutting snow anyway and some remains. It is usually melted down, but in this case we have used it again.’
President Vladimir Putin said during a press conference last week that climate change is a direct threat to Russia, warming the country two-and-a-half times faster than the average for the planet.
He insisted Russia will take the fight seriously, adding the country is especially vulnerable due to many of its northern cities being built on permafrost.
However he cast doubt on the scientific consensus that global warming is being fuelled by human activity, suggesting it could be due to a shift in the earth’s axis.
‘After all, we know that in the history of Earth there were periods when there was warming and cooling and it could depend on global processes in the universe.’
‘And to consider now that contemporary mankind influences changes in climate is very difficult, if at all possible.’
Activists and officials in the north of the country have warned the melting permafrost could spark a ‘gold rush’ for woolly mammoth remains, to be traded on the Chinese market.
Russia’s propaganda outlet in the Western world, RT.com, suggests the warm winter is due to cyclones in the Atlantic.
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