Lena Melnikova: Dark rumours in a city suffering a nightmare of heat and smog

Share
Related Topics

For weeks now, life in Moscow has been like living on the set of a Tarkovsky film. We haven't seen blue skies for ages – just various shades of a bright-greyish nightmare. But yesterday was the worst ever. I did not want to get out of bed to face another obnoxiously hot morning. Overnight, the wind blew more smoke in from the blazing forests and moors around the city. The smog settled among the trees and apartment blocks, obstructing the sun and views of distant buildings.

The smell of burning gets into your clothes, hair, even the furniture and curtains. It makes your throat itch and eyes water. Most people are coughing, complaining of headaches and nausea. The carbon monoxide level was 10 times above normal yesterday. No one knows what the health implications are.

But it's the only topic of conversation. The shops have sold out of air-conditioning units and fans and no one knows when more are due in. Even our pets are suffering – I try and walk my dog, but it's sad to see her snuffling around in the dead grass, with no fresh air. At home, she lies around listlessly.

In offices, no one bothers about a dress code anymore – it's all mini-skirts and shorts, see-through tops and flip-flops. The latest fashion is for face masks like the ones people donned during the bird and then swine flu panics. This time, we need them.

Ironically, when the heatwave hit first, we Muscovites kept complaining about the Tube being too stuffy – but nearly six weeks on it's an underground oasis, a smog-free microclimate. Before, we relished the summer as an opportunity to get out of our cars. Now, we relish sitting in the ones with air-conditioning, some of us talking about sleeping in them.

Little work is being done. Some bosses are allowing people to finish early. But who wants to leave an air conditioned office for the melting asphalt and the smoking hot shoebox of a home?

It's a miracle the city continues: no power cuts, no major fires, no mass heart attacks, no panic.... but this being Russia, there are dark rumours. The latest is that the Americans are testing their new climatic weapon on us. Some things here never change – whatever happens, blame the Americans.

And now the poor confused weather guys cannot even promise any relief for the next few weeks. God, have mercy on us.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed Rand...

IT Technician

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are current...

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Permanent post for a Key stag...

Geography Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Geography Teacher urgently ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: eurogloom, Ed in Red and Cameron's Wilsonian U-turn on control orders

John Rentoul
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering