Snow is hardly in short supply in Russia, but one town’s desperate hopes for a white Christmas saw authorities resort to some truly Grinch-like behavior.
Authorities in Mysky, a Siberian town in the coal-mining region of Kemerovo, have reportedly been covering snow with white paint to hide signs of soot and coal dust, according to The Moscow Times.
A video shared online (below) shows footage of a festive recreational park in the town center, complete with flashing Christmas lights and snowy towers. However, a closer inspection of the white mounds shows that they are covered in a strange shiny and tacky coating. Those in the video rub the snowy walls with their hands and reveal that their fingers are covered in thick white paint.
“You can see the stains... it even sticks,” the filmer said, according to The Moscow Times.
The town can be found in the Kuznetsk Coal Basin, one of the largest coal-mining areas in the world and the most densely populated portion of Siberia. Once a symbol of Soviet industrial clout, the area's economy is still heavily reliant on the coalfields and contains minable reserves in excess of 300 billion tons. It’s been speculated that the white paint was used to cover up soot, coal dust, and other particulates that had built up on the snow and given it an unappealing gray tinge.
The head of the company that ordered the slapdash job has reportedly been “reprimanded” and the head of the city has issued an apology.
“I will refrain from assessing the professional qualities of the workers, because that is quite obvious,” Dmitry Ivanov said in a statement.
“I apologize to the townspeople whose New Year’s mood was spoiled by this.”