MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow has not witnessed such a snowy winter in the past 100 years, Deputy Mayor Pyotr Biryukov said on Tuesday, after heavy snowfall hit the Russian capital last night.
“This is the snowiest winter in 100 years,” Biryukov said, adding that 216 centimeters (85 inches) of snow have blanketed Moscow since the beginning of winter, which is 1.5 times above climatic norm.
The snowfall, which continued in and around the capital until the early hours of Tuesday, brought Moscow's traffic to a virtual standstill. The total length of traffic jams in the city reached 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles), which is equal to the distance between Moscow and Madrid.
The snowfall also caused the delay of 155 flights, while 56 planes had to seek alternative landing sites. Among them was that of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, which had to land in St. Petersburg due to weather conditions.
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News that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would resign in order to run for the mayoral election in September came as quite a shock. Sobyanin’s political potential is fairly dubious, not to mention his approval ratings. He has not finished many of the projects he initiated and the electoral effect from these projects is expected to come a bit later than September 2013. Sobyanin’s opponents were not entirely unprepared for this blitzkrieg.