City authorities in Moscow have declared "clean car month". Motorists who do not keep their car clean can be stopped by the police and have to pay a fine. It is no surprise that this is not popular with car owners.
This report from James Rodgers.
In winter, some Russians simply keep their cars off the streets. Blizzards make driving difficult. Temperatures of minus twenty degrees celsius and below can cause cars to seize up completely. In spring, vehicles reappear on the roads as if from hibernation. In Moscow, they're supposed to be clean when they emerge.
This is clean car month, and drivers of dirty vehicles risk being fined. Motorists argue that Russian law is only broken if the number plates are obscured by grime. Traffic policemen, car owners say, are a corrupt lot who take advantage of drivers' ignorance of the law to demand fines for offences real or imagined, or bribes to look the other way.
Motoring programmes on Moscow radio stations have been informing drivers of their rights and encouraging them to challenge officers who stop them.
The website of the newspaper Izvestiya asked its readers for their views. 46 per cent agreed a car was dirty if the number plate wasn't visible. 23 per cent said it was if the car had "wash me" written on it, 22 per cent if the make or the colour of the car couldn't be determined. A stubborn nine per cent maintained that a car was dirty only if the actual driver was invisible.
James Rodgers, Moscow correspondent
off the streets
Colocar el vehículo dentro de un estacionamiento o local cubierto en vez de dejarlo en la calle. Off the streets quiere literalmente decir "fuera de vía pública"
tormentas de nieve
hibernación es el stado fisiológico que se presenta en ciertos mamíferos como adaptación a condiciones invernales extremas. Sueño invernal.
salir, aparecer . En este caso se refiere al momento cuando los conductores sacan sus vehículos del estado de "hibernación" en que los dejaron durante el invierno.
la matrícula, chapa, o placa de un automóvil
obscured by grime
ennegrecido por la suciedad
bribes to look the other way
sobornar para que se hagan "la vista gorda"