Controlling the weather in Moscow is nothing new, he says. Ahead of the two main holidays celebrated in the city each year — Victory Day in May and City Day in September — the often cash-strapped air force is paid to make sure that it doesn't, well, rain on the parades. With a city budget of $40 billion a year (larger than New York City's budget), Moscow can easily afford the $2-3 million price tag to keep the skies blue as spectators watch the tanks and rocket launchers roll along Red Square. Now there's a new challenge for the air force: Moscow's notorious blizzards.
"You know how every year on City Day and Victory Day we create the weather?" Luzhkov asked a group of farmers outside Moscow in September, according to Russian media reports. "Well, we should do the same with the snow! Then outside Moscow there will be more moisture, a bigger harvest, while for us it won't snow as much. It will make financial sense."