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Russians Prepared for the Post-Apocalypse with Parties, Stockpiling, & Orgies

RuNet Echo This post is part of RuNet Echo, a Global Voices project to interpret the Russian language internet. All Posts · Learn more

That the world failed to come to an end today, “21-12-2012,” must come as a relief to many Russian bloggers who have spent the past several weeks obsessing over the coming apocalypse prophesied by the Mayans. Of course, as with many things, Russia's take on Armageddon had its own peculiarities.

Take, for instance, the fact that the Russian phrase “Конец Света” (Konets Sveta), or “the End of the World,” also means “the End of Light” (from the dual meaning of svet). Some interpreted this quite literally, as LiveJournal user markela reported [ru]:

Какой-то лама пророчествует, что 21-го на несколько дней погаснет электричество, будет кромешная тьма, то есть буквально свет закончится. Надо сделать запасы, сидеть в деревне в доме и не вылезать. Топить печь, жечь свечи и есть запасы.

Some kind of lama is prophesying that, on [December] 21, the electricity will go out for a few days, [and] there will be complete darkness, so literally it will be the end of light [svet]. People should stockpile food, sit in their country homes, and stay put. Start a fireplace, burn some candles, and eat the supplies.

LJ user mutantkhamon also noted [ru] the trend:

Судя по количеству спичек и свечей, сметамых с полок магазинов, народ воспринимает Конец Света как аварийное отключение электричества. Также умиляют закупки продуктов. Наши люди, безусловно, верят в Конец Света, но также безусловно они верят, что произойдёт он, конечно, не с ними.

Judging by the amount of matches and candles being swept from the stores, people are looking at the End of the World like an emergency electrical outage. The food purchases are also touching. Our people undoubtedly believe in the End of the World, but also undoubtedly believe that it won't take them with it.

Older people were perhaps more affected by the hype. Julchita tweeted [ru] yesterday:

еще и Мама пишет… “заряди телефон.завтра могут электричество отключить.” – “почему?” – “конец света.”

Mom wrote… “charge up the phone. tomorrow they can turn off the electricity.” – “why?” – “it's the end of the word.”

But others were also not immune. Svetlana Martynchik, the author of the Max Frei novels, transcribed and published [ru] to her LJ the following overhead conversation:

- Сын моей подруги умный такой, инженер, а все равно решил к концу света подготовиться. Купил дрова, свечи, продукты. На неделю запас, ходит теперь довольный.
- А почему на неделю? Говорят же, что электричество отключат аж до весны.
- А у них кладовка очень маленькая. И сарая нет. Некуда складывать. Поэтому он говорит – что до весны, это все бабские глупости. За неделю все починят.

- My friend's son, who is smart and an engineer, still decided to get ready for the end of the world. He bought some firewood, candles, food. Supplies for a week, [and] now he walks around satisfied.
- Why for a week? They say the electricity will be off until spring.
- They have little storage space. And no shed. Nowhere to put things. So he says—until spring, that's female stupidity. They'll fix it it within a week.

People got ready in their own ways. Blogger Sergey Stillavin received the following letter [ru] from one of his readers about a conversation between two drunks on the train.

[...] один приглашал другого сие событие отметить в каких-то пещерах в МО [...] перед этим событием нужно соблюсти 2 правила: 1) одеться вещи, которые не жалко – ибо в пещерах такая грязь, что одежду придется потом выкинуть 2) [...] запастись спиртным, а именно спиртом по 5 литров так сказать “на лицо”, т.к. конец света – вещь непредсказуемая и случиться может всё что угодно

[...] one invited the other to mark the occasion in some kind of cave in the Moscow Region [...] before the occasion one should follow 2 rules: 1) dress in clothes that you don't care about—it's so muddy in the caves, that the clothes will have to be thrown out 2) [...] stock up on alcohol, that is, pure alcohol at 5 liters per person, since the end of the world is an unpredictable thing, and anything could happen

Idlers riding trains weren't the only ones to use the coming end as an excuse to have some fun. A VKontakte group [ru] in Nizhny Novgorod (a similar group [ru] was started in Krasnoyarsk) invited all interested parties to participate in an End of the World orgy with this lighthearted message:

Короче собираем много народу и ебёмся последние сутки до конца света =)))

Cutting straight to the chase, we're getting a bunch of people together and f*cking for the last 24 hours before the end of the world =)))

So far, over 1,000 people have joined the group (most of them male). It isn't clear whether any of the orgies actually took place.

Other revels scheduled for Armageddon were less risque, but just as other-worldly, journalist Rovshan Askerov wrote [ru] on Facebook:

Сегодня рассказали в одном ивинт-агентстве, как заказчик специально поставил корпоратив в ночь с 20 на 21 декабря и ровно в 0.00 по сценарию у него – в разгар веселья – полное отключение света. И огненные шары с потолка падают.

Today, at one event-planning agency, they told me that a client specifically scheduled a corporate holiday party from December 20 to 21, and—at 12:00 AM sharp, according to his script (in the middle of the party)—the lights go off completely. And fiery balls fall from the ceiling.

Not to be outdone by the Russians in doomsday prep, Ukrainian journalists managed to locate a woman named Светлана Григорьевна Конец (Svetlana Grigorievna Konets, in other words “Konets, Sveta”) and interview her as an authority on what's coming. A photograph of her passport [ru] has gone viral on the RuNet, to much hilarity.

Alfa-Bank's Doomsday Loan website, complete with count-down. Screenshot. December 21, 2012.

Marketing departments also couldn't let the opportunity pass by. Alfa-Bank, for example, advertised a special “End of the World” loan in the first weeks of December:

Самое время насладиться оставшимся временем: поехать на Бали, прыгнуть с парашютом, выпить бокал Вдовы Клико, а для этого можно взять кредит, ведь эти деньги не нужно будет отдавать никогда! Альфа-Банк дает такой кредит, который МОЖНО НЕ ВОЗВРАЩАТЬ, если конец света наступит!

It's high time to enjoy your remaining time: travel to Bali, skydive, drink a goblet of Veuve Clicquot, and for this you can take out a loan, since you never have to return the money! Alfa-Bank is giving out a loan, which you DON'T HAVE TO RETURN, if the world comes to an end!

Judging by the pre-apocalypse behavior online, there were probably more than a few takers among RuNet users.

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