We are not alone. The Financial Times reports that Moscow has an acute shortage of snow shovelers because Central Asian migrants have gone home.
The changing weather has also exposed a new reality in Russia’s labour market: as low oil prices threaten a second consecutive year of economic contraction, many of the central Asian migrants who once comprised most of the city’s army of snow cleaners have returned home. In their absence, employers are struggling to find Russians to replace them.
The dwindling migrant population has left Moscow’s communal services struggling to keep up with this year’s large snowfall. After the unexpected thaw last week, the mayor’s office advised people to stay home and drivers to take public transport so as to avoid large pools of black ice that have gone uncleared. Some Muscovites have expressed their frustration by taking shovels in hand and piling mounds of snow in the streets and outside municipal buildings in protest.Maybe this problem will be resolved by global warming.