Moscow, the capital where winters have put paid to invaders from Napoleon to Hitler, is trucking in artificial snow this year.
Moscow has been so warm this December that the government has resorted to sending trucks filled with artificial snow to decorate a new year display in the city centre.
Videos of the delivery for a snowboarding hill went viral on social media as observers noted the irony of bringing snow to a city that spends millions each year on its removal.
“This is all the snow there is in Moscow. It’s being guarded in Red Square,” one Instagram user wrote, accompanied with a photograph from near the Kremlin.
The balmy December weather has interrupted hibernation at Moscow zoo and caused crocuses, lilacs and magnolias at Moscow State University’s apothecary garden to flower early. Zoo officials said that they had put five jerboas, a type of hopping rodent with long hind legs, into specially refrigerated enclosures to encourage them to hibernate.
The most visible impact, however, has been the lack of snow, which usually begins blanketing Russia in October or November. Light flurries have fallen in Moscow and its parks are dusted white, but most of the snow in the city centre has melted.