Tag Archives: Moscow

White Christmas and New Year In Russia

Looking ahead at the weather, it is highly unlikely that the UK will be having a white Christmas or even a smattering of snow for the New Year, unless you live in the very North of Scotland or at the top of Ben Nevis! However, if you want to guarantee a festive scene to wake up to on Christmas Morning then head for Moscow.

Snow cover in Russia hangs around for about three months of the year usually from November to April getting as deep as 25 cm (about ten inches) between December and January. Cost wise, the exchange rate is very favorable; for example a McDonald’s meal in Moscow costs £3.25 so not much difference from home. Alcohol is well priced as are meals, a three course meal for 2 averages around £25.

Now a very cosmopolitan city there are over 5000 westernized clubs pubs and restaurants in Moscow and with one of the world’s biggest fireworks displays held annually for their New Year’s Eve celebrations, it is rapidly become a popular destination for stag parties, hen do’s and of course; romantic getaways.

Many of the hotels and clubs try to outdo each other by attempting to throw the biggest party, most including fireworks so expect a lot of festive cheer and some interesting pyrotechnics. The best parties are usually ticketed but include food and drinks, the more popular ones such as Electrosvet, Bar Belka, GQ Bar, Rai, Kino and Propaganda all offer great entertainment, good prices and a party atmosphere to rival the best.

Red Square on New Year’s Eve resembles Trafalgar or Times Square as it seems the whole of Moscow flocks here to let in the New Year. Of course having the stunning architecture of St Basils Cathedral as a backdrop to the fireworks, it is a sight worth seeing. Just a few minutes away along the banks of the Moskva River (aka Moscow River) you will find romantic quiet areas to watch the fireworks from but wrap up.

Today the temperature in Moscow is -3c which is the average for this time of year but is expected to drop to -5 over the next couple of days. The record low for the area was a staggering -38 which explains why Muscovites are usual pictured in ankle length fur coats and big fluffy hats.

A little known fact is that Russians love to party and are a friendly bunch of people so if you are one of the many wanting to try a new experience, make new friends, have a memorable break and not have to buy tickets to see fireworks book a flight now.

In the meantime enjoy the fireworks from last year’s celebrations.

С Рождеством и Новым годом от эпических фейерверков
S Rozhdestvom i Novym godom ot epicheskikh feyyerverkovv

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Victory Day Fireworks 2013

Праздничный салют на Днепре в честь дня Победы! Было недолго, но очень красиво! Стреляли с баржи, как обычно, на воде. Victory Day fireworks. Photo by my wife @juliabelch. #victory #day #firework #fire #light #night #river #holiday #shot #instamood #insta

Sometimes I ponder the rationale behind using fireworks in celebration of winning wars or other political and religious fighting but it is very much the done thing nowadays. Think 4th July – the American War of Independence – the war with England for independence, Bonfire Night – religious fighting, Victory Day in Russia – the end of WWII and they are all celebrated with fireworks.

In some respects, it is challenging the explosive power of bombs and artillery and changing them into something truly beautiful.

Yesterday evening, for example, the skies over Moscow were alight with the sights, sounds and aromas of fireworks as the people of Russia celebrated Victory Day in the heart of Russia. The public holiday is in recognition of the eventual overthrowing of Hitler’s Nazi regime and the end of World War II.

Whilst the UK lost over 450 thousand lives which were around 10% of the population of the UK and its colonies which at the time stood at just over 47 million, the Soviet Union lost a staggering 43.3 million lives, 27 million of which were serving in the armed forces.

In the years between the signing of the treaty and today, the celebration of Victory Day has come and gone a few times. However, when the enigmatic Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999, he wanted to promote celebration and pride of the efforts of the people who lost their lives fighting for freedom. His belief being along the same lines as our own ‘lest they be forgotten’ ethos but instead of the usual sombre military marches and laying of wreaths, they should be able to accommodate both accept that the war was hard-fought but ultimately good won out.

This year saw the usual military parade followed by a huge fireworks display. The fireworks were being fired from 14 different locations across the city and for 15 minutes all eyes were trained to the clear skies as they were filled with breathtaking colour explosions incorporating any number of different effects.

Mr Putin’s address to the gathered Russian Military forces and dignitaries was really touching:

“We will do everything, everything in order that no-one ever dare unleash war again. They will not threaten our children, our homes, our land. We will do everything to enforce safety in Russia. Glory to this nation of victors. Happy Victory Day. Glory to Russia’

It is clear that at least while ever Mr Putin remains at the helm, we can expect celebrations, parades and of course beautiful fireworks in recognition of the loves and lives lost in the name of war.

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Stunning display in Moscow for Victory Day

A stunned Moscow crowd was treated to a spectacular fireworks display on the 9th of May for the Victory Day festivities.

This is a traditional display that dates back to the days of the Second World War, fireworks were used back then to mark all the great victories reported in the media to boost the morale of the people and the troops.

This beautiful display for this year’s celebrations was enjoyed by thousands of Moscovites and visitors lining the busy streets and sharing in the party. Enjoy the video!

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