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Russian Women Shovel Snow in Miniskirts

A good amount of snow fell on St. Petersburg this week and the shovels came out -- and so did the stiletto heels and miniskirts.  What?

With high-heels on their feet and construction helmets on their heads, the group, which calls itself X-Z movement, dug the city out, shoveling snow in front of a crowd of spectators on the icy streets by the Griboedov Canal.

"[X-Z] was started by a group of like-thinking girls who decided they could solve problems through the power of their feminine beauty," said the group's press secretary, who uses the pseudonym Eva Tornado. "With vivid, beautiful actions we can turn the attention of people and of the government to the issues that concern us.

By clearing snow in not-so-warm clothing, the group got a lot of attention. But this isn't its first news-making demonstration.

Last summer, when a hot spell hit St. Petersburg, the X-Z women appeared in the city center to offer their services by spraying the sweaty crowds with water guns.

Later, when it was revealed that the breakwater that protects St. Petersburg from flooding was damaged, they gathered in the city center to give extreme swimming lessons to passers-by.

As with previous demonstrations, the snow-shoveling event wasn't just about beautiful women being beautiful.

"[T]he city doesn't want to remove the snow, so people have to do it themselves," Tornado said. "It makes us embarrassed for our city's many splendors, by foreigners refusing to come here. Last year a giant icicle fell and put a tourist in the hospital, and this year the situation is only worse. If the city doesn't want to take care of it, we can try to get the people involved. ... We're drowning in snow."

The group's leader, Aleksandra Eliseeva, told a local paper that "the snow-filled streets are the main reason there are so few foreign men visiting the city. They see the state of the city on webcams and refuse to come. If we clean the area in front of the cameras, they'll come to Petersburg again."

Leave it to Russian women to go to extremes.

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