Fireworks on the Victory Day in Moscow

Russian Clouds Sure Have a Silver Lining

There are some things that we, here in Russia, take for granted. One of such things is that it is always sunny on major holidays. Clouds get eliminated. For us it makes total sense. How else would we see the fireworks?!

Is That Real?

When I tell that to my friends abroad though – they think I am kidding. The government does what?! Planes spray silver on the clouds, so that you, Tanya, could watch fireworks?! Yes, that is exactly what my government does for me. After all – I do pay taxes and need to make sure my taxpayer money is invested well, right?

I must put a disclaimer though. That service is provided in Moscow only. I am just lucky to live here. It would’ve been a bit costly to manage weather at the entire Russian territory, even for special holidays.

Map of Russia

Map of Russia – thousands of km, 9 time zones

How Exactly Do They Manage the Weather?

There are several methods. What all of them have in common is that to make the sky clear of clouds above the Red Square, one must convert these clouds in rain, before these clouds reach Moscow.

The most typical method for doing that – to make up to 10 airplanes spray silver on the clouds. It is not pure silver though – it is AgI (Argentum Iodide), particles of which cause condensation of water. One can use cement for the same purposes as well, but AgI is more powerful, so it is cheaper. Even though that sounds bizarre. How could spraying silver be cheaper than spraying cement? I do not have a deep knowledge about the process, my guess is that you need much more cement to get the same result. And since you are using planes and fuel, maybe that is the reason it is cheaper to spray a bit of silver and not tons of cement. If any of my friends have a more profound knowledge about that – please correct me.

How “Cheap” is That?

Great question. Good weather for holidays is quite pricey indeed. According to media sources, Moscow Government will spend 430 Mln Rub in 2015, so that I enjoy fireworks. Exchange rate of Ruble is volatile now, at present that is about $8,3 Mln. But that is for the entire year, so to me that seems reasonable.

How Often Do You Have Fireworks in Moscow?

Unfortunately not as often as in Chicago in Summer (not every week). Only on the major holidays. The last fireworks were couple of days ago on May 9th – Victory Day. Victory Day is one of the main holidays in Russia, since almost every family had lost relatives in that war. And this year marked 70th anniversary of the end of the WWII, so the fireworks and celebration were especially festive. I watched the fireworks steps from the Red Square and really enjoyed them.

I have a funny story about that from my childhood. As a child, I always loved fireworks and wanted fireworks to last longer. Once I asked my dad – how do people who make fireworks decide how long each firework is. My dad said that it takes a lot of work to make fireworks, so they work day and night and produce as many firework rockets as they can in between holidays. At that time I thought – it is ok to have fireworks only several times a year. That way each session last longer and is more memorable. For the 9th of May people at the firework factory did work day and night to make the special firework in Moscow.

I wish all people all over the world to see rockets only during firework happy time. That is very important! Please feel free to share with me your firework photos, memories and of course – your views about managing the weather!

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