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14.09.2017 16:32
stpetersburg, weather, winter, russian, words, phrases
Winter is coming - get ready!

There’s no denying it - the weather in St. Petersburg is….challenging (to put it lightly). If you’ve come (or are planning to come) to Derzhavin Institute in St. Petersburg to study, you’ll need to start thinking about how to survive the cold winter months in the city. The temperatures can drop to as low as minus 30 degrees celsius, and snow can start to fall as early as October (in 2016, the first snowfall happened on October 26th). Therefore, we recommend getting acquainted with some winter vocabulary and stocking up on winter clothing in advance!


Как одеваться по погоде // How to address according to the weather

Don’t underestimate how important it is to have a good coat and sturdy pair of boots in Russia! Here are some useful words that will help you if you need to do buy some winter clothing (зи́мняя оде́жда (or ве́рхняя оде́жда - outer clothing))





If it’s still warm outside and you don’t want to get too hot while you’re in the metro (the eternal dilemma for inhabitants of Russia: how does one survive, when it’s freezing outside but boiling hot inside?!), then consider picking up a handy жиле́т (gilet), which you can wear over your jumper. Beware though, if it gets cold and you walk around in a sleeveless coat, you might get a few judgemental looks from other people…




You’re guaranteed not to get cold if you’re lucky enough to get hold of a дублёнка. This sheep-skin/suede coat will keep you so warm that you’ll hardly need to wear anything underneath it! But this stylish coat often comes with a catch: it’s usually on the pricey end, so if you’re only in Russia for one winter, it might not be worth splashing the cash on this kind of coat.


Similar to the дублёнка, the шу́ба is also, unfortunately, an expensive type of coat. However, it’s possibly the warmest type of coat that you will find. Made of real fur, the coat is a truly coveted item in Russia.



This is the cheapest type of coat and is a popular choice amongst both tourists and Russians. Filled with down or even animal feathers, this down coat will keep you warm and will also protect you against the wind and rain. The only downside is that it’s often quite hard to find one that doesn’t look like you’re wearing a zipped-up duvet cover…





This refers to a normal (but not necessarily waterproof) coat. You can find fairly fashionable types of this coat in pretty much any shop in St. Petersburg.





This word is used to describe a little jacket (so perhaps a leather jacket, or a light summer jacket).


Shoes (ту́фли, о́бувь)

St. Petersburg gets wet - really wet - during the winter. The combination of snow, slush, hail, grit, and rain means that finding the right pair of waterproof shoes is essential. We recommend spending a bit more than you usually would on a good pair of shoes, rather than buying a cheap pair that break within a week. There are several different words relating to types of footwear:
  • Ва́ленки - felt boots worn in the winter (but not waterproof - to make them waterproof, you'd need some галоши)

  • Сапоги́ - boots (usually long)

  • Боти́нки - boots (usually short)

  • Бале́тки - (not recommended for winter) Ballet pumps

  • Красо́вки - trainers

  • Ке́ды - converse trainers

  • Та́почки - slippers (very important: don’t forget to change into indoor footwear when you go into someone’s apartment!) 


Other winter accessories that are worth buying:

  • Колго́тки - tights

  • Шарфы́ - scarves

  • Ша́пка - hat

  • Уша́пка - a hat that covers your ears 



  • Головна́я повя́зка - headband 


  • Перча́тки - gloves

  • Ва́режки - mittens

  • Бере́т - a beret-type hat that you may see women (especially older women) wear



A few useful winter words 

Describing yourself in the winter


  • Обува́ться, обу́ться - to put on shoes

  • Переобува́ться, переобу́ться - to change your shoes

  • Отря́хивать, отряхну́ть снег с (ног) - to shake the snow off of (your feet)

  • Замерза́ть, замерзну́ть (Я замёрз(ла)) - to freeze, get really cold

  • Одева́ться, оде́ться тепло́ - to dress warmly

  • Надева́ть, наде́ть (ша́пку) - to wear, put on (a hat)

  • Застёгиваться, застегну́ться - to zip up your coat, button up

  • Гре́ться - to warm up

  • Согрева́ться, согре́ться - to get warm, to warm oneself

  • (Вино́) вас согре́ет - (wine) will warm you up



Describing the weather

A particularly important skill for inhabitants of St. Petersburg, since the weather here is always changing!



  • Времена́ го́да - Seasons

  • Метеопрогно́з, метеосво́дка - forecast

  • Тепле́ть, потепле́ть (завтра потепле́ет) (Погода тепле́ет) - tomorrow it will get warmer, the weather is getting warmer

  • холоде́ть, похолода́ть - (used for weather) to get colder

  • Жара́ ((это) жарко) - heat (it is hot)

  • Зной - intense heat

  • Тепло́ ((это) тепло) - warm (it is hot)

  • Хо́лод ((это) холодно) - cold (it is cold)

  • Прохла́да ((это) прохла́дно) - coolness (it is cool, tepid)

  • Сля́коть ((это) сля́котно) - slush (it is slushy)

  • Духота́ ((это) ду́шно) - stuffiness (it is stuffy)

  • (Это) ско́льзко -  it is slippery

  • Небо затя́нуто ту́чами - the sky is overcast

  • Стои́т моро́з/моро́зно - it is frosty



  • Мороси́ть - to drizzle (light rain)

  • (Идёт) ли́вень - downpour (heavy rain)

  • Дождь льёт как из ведра́ - it’s raining cats and dogs (heavy rain)

  • (Идёт) дождь - to rain

  • Ду́ет ве́тер - it is windy

  • (Стои́т) тума́н - to be foggy

  • (Идёт) град - to hail



  • Мете́ль - storm

  • Потоп - flooding

  • Бу́ря - storm

  • Урага́н - hurricane

  • Гроза́ - storm

  • Вью́га - blizzard, snowstorm

  • Снегопа́д - snowfall

  • О́ттепель - thaw

  • Гром - thunder

  • Мо́лния - lightning



  • Снег - snow

  • Лёд - ice

  • Сосу́льки - icicles

  • Снежи́нка - snowflake

  • Гололёд - black ice (rain that freezes - the worst…)

  • Снегови́к - snowman

  • Лу́жа - puddle

  • Дво́рники - the people who clear the streets of snow (they will become your favourite people)



So, there you have it - you're own starter pack for winter in Russia!


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