Many believers of the reported Mayan apocalypse may be heading to France for refuge, but in the case of Russia, the country seems to still be figuring out how they will handle the so-called "end of the world" on December 21.
The New York Times is reporting the supposed prophecy has been impacting Russia to the point where government officials had to publicly address the news. Inmates in a women’s prison located near the Chinese border are said to have experienced a “collective mass psychosis” so intense that a priest has been called in to calm them. In eastern Moscow, “panicked citizens stripped shelves of matches kerosene, sugar and candles.”
In a town called Chelyabinsk, a giant Mayan-style archway is being built out of ice.
“For those not schooled in New Age prophecy, there are rumors the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, when a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count in the Mayan calendar supposedly comes to a close,” says the newspaper. “Russia, a nation with a penchant for mystical thinking, has taken notice.”
In response to the panic spreading throughout Russia, its minister of emergency situation stated Friday that he has access to “methods of monitoring what is occurring in the planet Earth.” In addition to reassuring citizens that the world will not end this month, the country is still at risk of “blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes, floods, trouble with transportation and food supply, breakdowns ion heat, electricity and water supply.”
Regardless of the public announcement, people are still worried of what may come.
Rev. Tikhon Irshenko, who visited Gornoye’s Prison Colony No. 10 in November, told the Data news service wardens informed him that the anxiety had become so severe, inmates had broken out of the facility due to “their disturbing thoughts.” Some of the women, he claimed, were sick or suffering from seizures.
In the Buryatiya’s capital Ulan-Ude, citizens have allegedly been hoarding food and candles as a means to possibly survive without light.
Last week, lawmakers in Moscow submitted a letter to Russia’s three main television stations, asking them to stop airing material about the prophecy, which could potentially encourage con artists to take advantage of the growing situation.
But not everyone is responding to Doomsday with fear.
An entrepreneur from the Siberian city of Tomsk has reportedly “sold several thousand gag emergency kits, a cleverly packaged $29 parcel including sprats, vodka, buckwheat, matches, candles, a string and a piece of soap.
The survival package’s motto? “It can’t be worse.”