Here schools are shut, and public transport is struggling to cope. Picture: SakhalinMedia
As western Europe chills in unusually harsh weather, which it blames on Russia (of course!), here’s how we cope with the deep freeze.
Countries from Britain to Italy have been hit by unseasonably cold weather accompanied by heavy snow – widely dubbed the ‘Beast from the East’ and blamed on ‘a storm front sweeping down from Russia’ as The Times of London puts it.
Recently our reporters have been in demand from TV and radio in Europe asking how to cope with the extreme cold.
‘I started skating when I was seven.’ Pictures: SakhalinMedia
Meanwhile, with Spring officially underway from 1 March, Russians too are dealing with heavy snow.
In Sakhalin, passengers had to disembark their bus to push it out of a snow drift caused by local blizzards.
Natalia Sivokon, from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, told us: ‘Everyone is in skiing outfits today.
Passengers had to disembark their bus to push it out of a snow drift caused by local blizzards.
‘Clever, as eyewear protects half of the face and even keeps make up in place by the time you reach you workplace!’
Here schools are shut, and public transport is struggling to cope.
But in Yakutsk, colder than anywhere in Europe at -27C, all schools remain open.
It took a 20 hour rescue operation to free the 38 men. Pictures: Social media
In the Arctic city of Norilsk, workers building a mine ventilation shaft got stuck by snowdrifts in a bus on their way home from work.
A blizzard with zero visibility meant there was no way forwards or back.
It took a 20 hour rescue operation to free the 38 men.
‘I started skating when I was seven.’ Picture: Boris Slepnyov/Kopeyka
Winds in Norilsk are gusting at up to 20 metres per second, with temperatures at around -23C.
Some plants in the city have given their staff days off.
Schools, however, are mainly continuing although students who have to move between districts are allowed to stay home.
The airport, the only link to the outside world, remains open when possible.
Blizzard in Norilsk. Picture: Sergey Dokukin, Nikolay Schipko, Ksenia Nikiforuk
From January 2018
Faith conquers the cold: across Siberia, Russians mark Orthodox Epiphany
Despite warnings of severe temperatures, hundreds of thousands of Russians take ice dips in an annual ritual marking Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan.
Many braved the frost and submerged themselves in ice holes cut in the shape of a cross in lakes and rivers across the country. Picture: PrimaMedia
In Yakutia, Magadan and Norilsk the cold was touching -50C, and in some areas the Russian Emergencies Ministry urged people not to take the plunge for their own safety.
As these pictures show, many braved the frost and submerged themselves in ice holes cut in the shape of a cross in lakes and rivers across the country.
In many cases this was late at night – the coldest time of the day.
People diving in sub-zero temperatures in Novoibirsk, Khabarovsk and Yakutsk. Pictures: NGS.ru, DVhav, Yakutsk RF
Epiphany marks the day Jesus Christ was baptised in the River Jordan, and Orthodox Christians immerse themselves reconnecting with a tradition going back to before the Bolshevik revolution which led to a ban on religion.
The water is believed to have healing powers and cleanse the faithful from sin.
Despite this, medics were standing by near popular ice holes ready to assist those overcome by the cold, and bathers were advised not to drink alcohol before taking the plunge.
The ice holes are known as ‘iordans’, named after the River Jordan.
WATCH THEM TAKING AN ICY DIP
Further west in European Russia at Lake Seliger, Tver region, President Vladimir Putin led the way in temperatures of around -7C, as the footage shows.
His spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “Marking the Epiphany holiday, Putin attended a morning church service and also took part in diving in Seliger Lake”.
He has done so several times in recent years, he said.
Epiphany celebrations in Krasnoyarsk, Khabarovsk and Omsk. Pictures: NewsLab, DVhab
Meanwhile, we caught up with Russians across some of eight times zones in Siberia and the Russian Far East.
The Pacific island of Sakhalin had rather mild temperatures compared with many places – -3C turning at night to -7C.
In Khabarovsk the devout had to contend with a bracing -24C at night.
Kransnoyarsk was colder at -34C in many areas yet it did not deter believers from diving in.
In Norilsk in the far north of this vast region, officials took the decision to ban the ritual, however.
Here temperatures of -52C were recorded as Epiphany approached, and there were swirling winds.
In western Siberia, the regions of Novosibirsk and Omsk recorded temperatures of -14 and -17C as people doused themselves in the cold water.
Pictures below show people diving in Kosh-Agach in the Altai Mountains, on the island of Sakhalin and in Komsomolsk-on-Amur