Rasputitsa – Russian Mud Season – Rasputitsa – Russische Schlammsaison

Rasputitsa (Sea of Mud), 1894, Alexei Savrasov.

Rasputitsa (Russian: распу́тица) is a season when travel on unpaved roads becomes difficult, owing to muddy conditions, either from autumnal rains or spring thaw. It also refers to the condition of the roads, during those seasons.

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Black and White Photos

Paintings and Art

Soldiers pulling car from the mud, November 1941.

Effects

Civil

The term is applied to muddy road conditions in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, which are caused by the poor drainage of underlying clay-laden soils found in the region. Roads are subject to weight limitations and closures during the period in certain districts of Russia. The phenomenon was a hindrance in the early 20th century in the Soviet Union since 40% of rural villages were not served by paved roads.

Wartime

Rasputitsa seasons of Russia are well known as a great defensive advantage in wartime. Common nicknames are General Mud or Marshal Mud. During the French invasion of Russia in 1812, Napoleon found the mud to be a great hindrance.

During the Second World War, the month-long muddy period slowed down the German advance during the Battle of Moscow and may have helped save the Soviet capital.

Wehrmacht horse carriage sunk in deep mud in Kursk Oblast, March–April 1942.
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