Apocalypse Now: Russians Preparing For Mayan Doomsday

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Moscow
A man working in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow has been detained by Russian authorities for allegedly attempting to recruit a Russian intelligence officer.

If the world does indeed end on Dec. 21, as the ancient Mayans predicted, many Russians will be prepared for the coming Doomsday.

According to various media reports, thousands of Russians and Ukrainians have been stocking up on survival goods, including canned meat, cereal and matches, ahead of the impending apocalypse.

Andrei Iltchenko, a Ukrainian student, told Russian media: "We are buying food and alcohol for the apocalypse. Then we will descend into our [underground] bunker and happily close the hatch door.”

He and his friends are planning a boisterous "last supper" to celebrate the destruction of the planet.

In the central Russian town of Omutninsk, residents have cleared the shelves of local stores in a spree of end-of-the-world panic buying.

In the Siberian town of Tomsk, storekeepers are selling “emergency kits” (for about $30) that include food, candles, matches, soap, and even games.

A similar kit in the Ukraine offers alcohol -- champagne for women and vodka for men, as well as shampoo, soap and condoms.

In response to the panic and frenzy, the Moscow government has sought to calm the public.

Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said in a statement: "It has been proved conclusively that global catastrophes take place at intervals of between 10 million and 15 million years,” adding there is no need to worry.

The Russian Orthodox Church also got involved in quelling the gathering hysteria.

"The end of the world will come, of course, and this could happen at any moment," said senior church official Vsevolod Chaplin, but he assured that will not occur on Dec. 21.

Russia’s chief medical officer Gennady Onishenko warned of people seeking to capitalize on the hysteria.

“This directly influences people’s health,” he said, according to Russian reports.

“When they depress you and say that in less than one month everything is going to end, there are many people, who believe this.”

Officials of Russia’s State Duma even penned a letter to media outlets asking them to refrain from doomsday speculations.

“In our committee there are academics and scientists, and with all responsibility we state that there will be no doomsday. Who made that up and circulates this around?” the Deputy Head of the Duma Committee on Science and Technology said.

At least one Russian official took a humorous twist on the matter.

“The end of the world has already started in some regions. There is not so much as a minute of daylight in Murmansk or Norilsk," said Roman Vilfand, head of the meteorological service in Moscow (failing to add that in these extreme northern climes, permanent darkness is normal as the winter solstice approaches).

"The end of the world should be over in Norilsk on Jan. 11, by our calculations, when there is light again.”

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