Russia Snow on Roads Traps Drivers on Road for Days

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Drivers stuck for days in traffic jam receive government aid.

Thousands of trucks and cars have been stuck on a major highway, some for 3 days, in a traffic jam dozens of miles long caused by heavy snow northwest of Moscow, Russian media reported on Monday (December 3).

Russian Minister for Emergencies Vladimir Puchkov paid a visit to the region on Sunday (December 2) to speak with local officials about organizing aid for the drivers.

Police in the Tver region said field kitchens were operating on the road, but many drivers complained they were running out of gasoline to keep their engines running and heating on in subzero temperatures.

Reports put the length of the traffic jam at between 120 miles at different times on Sunday.

"The situation is difficult and I have called upon the security forces in the central region to be ready. The weather forecast is not promising, we have prepared the security forces and resources and apart from that we have been in contact with representatives of companies and organizations to determine a clear logistical pattern for the delivery of supplies (aid)," Puchkov told Russian media.

Russian authorities have been accused of sluggish responses to weather-related problems including deadly wildfires in 2010 and flooding in the south this summer.

Officials are jumpy about their jobs after President Vladimir Putin's dismissal of the regional development minister in October and Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov last month.

The M-10 highway links Moscow with Russia's second largest city St Petersburg and stretches on to the border with Finland.

Russia's roads have been the butt of criticism since Tsarist times and its infrastructure has been plagued with problems since the Soviet era, when defence spending was high at the expense of roads, housing, healthcare and other civilian needs.

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