Red Corner: Moscow Ice

There is something legendary about Russian winters. They are brutal, cold, and unforgiving. Indeed, with the possible exception of Moses returning the Red Sea to its unparted state, no single natural phenomenon has wiped out more soldiers than the Russian winter.

Three years ago, I went to experience this killer winter myself by celebrating New Year’s Eve in Red Square . It was indeed, the coldest I’ve ever been. Hitler was crazy to march his troops here.

The funny thing about Moscow , however, is that Stalin decided to build most of it out of marble in order to impress the world. Marble and cold weather, however, is a very bad combination. The result is killer ice. During winter, the entire city becomes one giant ice rink as pedestrians slip, fall and crack limbs on an apocalyptic scale. In my short week in Moscow , I managed to fall several times and injure not only myself in the process but others as well. One time in Red Square , I started to slip and threw my arms up in the air to regain my balance. Unfortunately, I was holding on to the strap of my camera. The camera swung up in a big loop and came crashing down on some poor girl’s head where it immediately splintered into a handful of pieces. Another time I lost it going down some stairs. I fell on my ass and bumped down 20-30 stairs before plowing into two very old women near the bottom.

I didn’t realize I was one of the lucky ones to escape more serious injury-although I’m not sure about my victims. Nonetheless, I was intrigued to come across the following amusing, yet very dark, article in my favorite expat newspaper, the Exile. If you’re planning on visiting Moscow in the winter, you definitely want to read this first.