Russian winter … Here you’ll find everything you wanted to know about winter in ever-mysterious Russia. Do Russians love winter? Is the Russian winter really so brutal?


It’s often said that the Russian winter lasts for 9 months! In fact, most Russians would disagree with this statement. It’s true that a considerate part of Russia lies in arctic and subarctic zones but these areas have low population density.  

However, most Russians live in mild climate which covers the largest territory of Russia.

People living in subtropical zones of Russia (the Black Sea coast) see the Russian winter only in news! Sometimes the winter temperature at the Black Sea coast can reach 20°C above zero (68°F).

How harsh is the Russian winter?

Everyone has certainly heard about the coldest Russian spot – Oymyakon. Its average (average!) January temperature is 46,4°C below zero (minus 51,52°F).  

Winter is believed to have come when average day temperatures fall down to 0°C (32°F).

In some Russian regions winter starts earlier. For example, it’s the end of September for Yakutia. Whereas winter comes to Krasnodar Krai only in the beginning of January.  

The Russian winter usually starts in mild climate in the second half of November.

While describing the Russian winter we couldn’t but mention that summer in the coldest regions can be quite hot. For example, Verkhoyansk (Siberia) holds the record for the highest and lowest temperatures. In winter, the temperature there falls down to 67,8°C ( 90,04°F) below zero and it can raise up to 37,3°C (99,14°F) above zero during summer months.

Hello, the Russian winter!


The climate over the largest territory of Russia is quite cloudy and gloomy in late fall. Trees have already lost their leaves. There’re no bright colors, the eye can catch only shades of grey. It’s quite depressing, isn’t it?

That’s why the first snow is welcomed with joy. It’s like Christmas and New Year coming earlier.

When one thinks about the Russian winter they imagine the ground covered with snow and cold temperatures.

Global warming

Scientists have noticed that global warming has stronger influence on the Russian territory. However, Russians prefer warm weather and don’t worry about this serious climatic threat.

If we try analyzing one particular winter, we’ll hardly see any difference in its typical temperatures. One winter is quite frosty, while another is warm and snowless. This trend is common of Moscow, the Russian capital. Sometimes we can witness abnormal temperature changes when it’s freezing or scorchingly hot. Other anomalies are connected with the level of precipitation, i.e. too much snow or no snow at all.

Although, if we analyze average temperatures of previous years, we’ll see that global warming takes its toll on Russia faster than on other regions of Earth.

Dream of summer and the sea

Russians have the real cult of a warm sea. In case of a vacation, they head to southern regions. A warm and calm sea makes them forget about the everlasting Russian winter and let them gain strength.   

What about home temperature when it’s cold outdoors?

It’s a common belief that Russians live in cold weather and it’s also cold at their homes. In fact, Russians love warm conditions. Their homes are much warmer than those of the British and Portuguese during winter.

Thanks to well-established central heating, many Russians can wear T-shirts and shorts at home.

How to survive the Russian winter?


A northern Russian river at -20°C (-4°F)

The winter in mild climate and subtropics won’t be too challenging.

However, the minority of Russians living in arctic and subarctic zones have serious survival skills.

Here’re some of their secrets:

  • Cars with double glazing.
  • Car winterizing and special preparation.
  • Distant travel with minimum two cars.
  • If there’s no heated garage, a car works 24/7 or is launched with a special heat pump in any temperatures.
  • Warm and transpiring clothes better made of natural materials. We’d recommend to leave much-hyped clothes and footwear at home. Branded shoes are likely to crack in frost and you’ll probably feel cold in well-advertised clothes. Your best choice will be mukluks (high fur boots) or valenki (felt boots).   

The Winter Olympic Games in subtropics

Russia managed to hold the Winter Olympic Games in a subtropical region – Sochi (a city on the Black Sea coast).

When the mountains were covered with deep snow one could go down to the sea and find oneself among green palms.  

If you’ve firmly decided to see the Russian winter with snow and frost, you’ll have to go to the north-most regions. For example, you can visit Saint Petersburg in winter. Those who plan a tour to Moscow or the Golden Ring towns can be quite disappointed with the lack of snow and typical cold temperatures. Check out weather forecasts, otherwise you can miss the Russian winter!

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