The heat wave which has caused a sanitary and agricultural crisis in Russia is the most severe in the country's entire history, a top meteorological official said.
The head of weather forecaster Rosgidromet said that nothing similar had been observed in the millennium history of the Russian state, which dates back to the acceptance of Christianity by ancient Rus in the late 10th century.
"From the moment of the foundation of our country, we can say, in the last period of 1 000 years, no similar heat wave has been observed neither by ourselves nor by our ancestors," said Alexander Frolov.
"This is a completely unique phenomenon. There are no observations of this in the archives," he told a televised news conference.
Summer temperature records have tumbled throughout July and August with the worst smog in living memory from wildfires descending on Moscow in the last days.
Officials said Monday that mortality in Moscow had doubled amid the heat wave. (Sapa, August 2010)
Smog kills 700 hundred people per day