One of Mayor Luzhkov's proposed subbotniki (volunteer public working days) for spring cleaning the city - the 17th April - seems to have come and gone without much activity, at least not in my neck of the woods. But then, around here everything is already looking very spruced up. The many, many maintenance people who endlessly shovelled snow from roofs and grounds and blocked the pavement where icicles might fall, then broke up the remaining ice and swept away flooded drains and gutters, are now in gangs painting fences and kerb-stones around the local estates, picking up litter and blocking the path again, where it is now bits of (dampish) buildings that threaten to drop off.
The earth is still mainly blank, but grass is just beginning to show through and some neighbours are planting flowers. And the ubiquitous paint - which I remember from being here in 1970s - is still that really unpleasant green.