Spring in Moscow: What to like about Russia’s messiest season?

Spring in Russia comes slowly. Anton Chekhov once described it as recovery from a serious illness. It is doubtful that you could find any other nation in the world that waits for spring and worships it more than Russians do.

Spring in Russia comes slowly. Anton Chekhov once described it as recovery from a serious illness. It is doubtful that you could find any other nation in the world that waits for spring and worships it more than Russians do.

Oscar W. Rasson
RIR has selected inspiring photos of Moscow in spring accompanied by a text by a foreigner in Russia, our editor Ajay Kamalakaran. He sometimes wonders why Russians like spring so much when it can be Russia’s least predictable and messiest season.
The word spring conjures up images of green grass, blue skies, occasional bouts of rain, chirping birds and warmer weather. But as Muscovites discovered a week ago when a snowstorm hit the capital, spring, at least initially, is more a state of mind than an actual season.
I’ll never forget how the novelty of my first Russian winter wore off as soon as I realized that I would probably have to battle snow right into May. However, my Russian friends stayed as optimistic as ever.
In many parts of Russia, the latter part of spring brings with it a set of necessary evils. As temperatures rise above zero, the snow and ice melt, creating a muddy mess. There was hardly a day when I could manage to walk to work without my trousers getting dirty, either from me stepping on the slush or getting splashed by a speeding car on the street.
Another spring tradition, which is more popular in the Russian Far East than in Moscow, is to joyfully welcome the first rains. Just like children in India like to run outside and get drenched in the first monsoon showers, Russians take in the first rains of the spring with a sense of gratitude.
The birds fly back north to Russia, the green grass grows and trees get a fresh set of leaves, but all this happens much later. In Moscow and central Russia, the real spring usually arrives in April. Residents of the Russian Far East have to wait till May.
Despite this, optimism reigns supreme as the worst part of one of the coldest winters in a long time is over.
Alas, this is still the beginning of March and most parts of the country still have a lot of snow to negotiate before the winter clothes can be stashed away in the wardrobe.
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