Moscow mayor whips up a storm as wrong weather hits town

THE MAYOR of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, has long been accused by his critics of striving to run a city state, isolated from the rest of Russia. Now he may go one step further: fed up with unexpectedly filthy weather, he wants his own forecasting service.

An angry Mr Luzhkov has threatened to sever all ties with Russia's national weather service after it failed to give any warning of the past two days of terrible weather, which have buried the capital under at least eight inches of snow.

Such matters are taken seriously by the mayor, not least because the city has to fork out large sums of money on emergency teams of sweepers, salters and icicle removers. He made no secret of his annoyance when the national forecasters, who predicted temperatures of 9C to 11C, turned out to be spectacularly wrong. It was "a deception", said the mayor's spokesman. Such "disinformation" has happened all too often this winter, and "bad forecasting has cost Moscow a great deal of money". The capital, he said, was contemplating starting its own weather service.

Nor was Mr Luzhkov, who is famously outspoken, alone in his outrage. The national weather service yesterday found itself fielding call after call from indignant Muscovites. A hapless weather-service official was wheeled on to a prime-time television programme wryly entitled "Hero of the Day".

The weather has special resonance for Muscovites, not least because it has done much to secure the capital's survival. The Russian winter helped to destroy Napoleon's invading army and kept Hitler at bay.

Last September, Mr Luzhkov tried to take personal control of it, dispatching aircraft into the skies to seed the clouds with iodine pellets to prevent them raining on Moscow's lavish 850th anniversary celebrations. Success was limited: on the final day of the jamboree, the heavens opened.

But not all Mr Luzhkov's subjects will share his irritation. Tonight, Spartak Moscow is to play the second leg of a Uefa cup match against Inter Milan. Russians often complain that they cannot achieve much in spring because the change of season affects their biorhythms. Today's conditions should suit the fans just fine.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk