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Monday, 24 December, 2001, 16:21 GMT
In pictures: Moscow's snow and ice festival

Moscow's annual festival of snow and ice sculptures, known as "Vyugovey-2002" (Russian for "snow storm") opened on Sunday.

The festival, which has been held for more than fifteen years, attracts artists from around the world anxious to show their versatility with this unusual medium.

Subject matter varies from small animals to replicas of buildings. This year, ultranationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky has urged patriotic sculptures symbolising "tender and icy Russia", although reports do not say whether the artists have acted on his advice.

Vyugovey-2002 ice and snow festival: Ivan the Great bell tower, Kremlin
The icy heights of the Ivan the Great bell tower loom

Vyugovey-2002 ice and snow festival: more ice blocks needed
An unwelcome thaw send artists scurrying for more ice

Vyugovey-2002 ice and snow festival: replica of Tsar Cannon in Kremlin
Cold wind delays the annual firing of the ice cannon

Vyugovey-2002 ice and snow festival: ice building
Probably not a copy of the Winter Palace...

Vyugovey-2002 ice and snow festival: ice animal sculptures
Well-wrapped visitors admire the ice animals

Vyugovey-2002 ice and snow festival: costumed jollity
The fun continues with more sculptures promised

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