In the ancient town of Yaroslavl, 100 miles north of Moscow, a travelling circus said it had been forced to start giving its trio of Indian elephants vodka mixed with water in buckets as the mercury dipped.
In Lipetsk, where meteorologists recorded temperatures of minus 32C, the zoo's contingent of macaques was being fortified with cheap French table wine three times a day and in other zoos camels, wild boars and reindeer were being given regular shots of vodka to stave off the chill.
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