2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Russians dislike the word “cold.” I’m not sure why

Published: February 14, 2014, 2:49 am, by David Ramsey

Have talked with a few dozen Russians during my time here in Sochi. I’m headed to Moscow after the Olympics for a few days, and often ask for advice for that mini vacation.

“Is it cold in Moscow?” I ask.

The answer is almost always no. It’s warm in Moscow, my Russian friends insist.

Then we get to specifics about my visit. How cold will it be, exactly?

The answer is usually in the vicinity of minus 15 to minus 25 celsius. That translates to between 14 degrees and minus 13 degrees fahrenheit. 

That is not warm.

Russians usually bring up Siberia, where temps often plunge to minus 40 fahrenheit. Most Russians admit this is cold. Anything less than Siberia is not bad, they say.

But not all Russians will even admit Siberia is cold. Was talking this morning with a Russian TV cameraman who grew up in Siberia.

Those minus 40 days are not vicious, he said. It’s a dry cold, he insisted.

And I don’t think he was kidding.