Duma Begs TV Stations Not To Encourage End of the World Hysteria
Politicians from Russia's State Duma have written a letter to major television networks begging them not to encourage end of the world hysteria in the run up to December 21st, following a wave of odd behavior by Russian citizens across the country.
"We discussed this and sent an official letter to executives at Russia's leading TV networks," Mikhail Degtyarev, who represents the LDPR in Russia's lower house of parliament (Duma) and is deputy chair of the Duma Science Committee, told RIA Novosti. "In our compatriots' interests, we ask you to pay attention to the dissemination of pseudo-scientific information about the end of the world in your media."
21st December is regarded as the the end-date of a 5125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. This has prompted a myriad of different end-time beliefs, most of which suggest that the earth is about to be hit with cataclysmic weather and seismic events which will wipe out humanity.
The letter was signed by the deputy chairman of the State Duma’s committee for science and research-intense technologies, Mikhail Degtyaryov, chairman of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ committee for science, Valery Chernyshev, and Communist politician Dmitry Novikov.
The message cites experts at the Academy of Sciences who assert "that there will be no end of the world."
“Television has a very strong psychological influence on the audience. For that reason TV journalists must be very responsible in selecting the information that is put on the air. In their programs they often mention the rumoured end of the world. Why? It would be far better to steer clear of such themes,” Degtyaryov told ITAR-TASS.
Duma politicians also highlighted "a surge in the amount of consumer credit and the turnover of retail chains, which unmistakably points to soaring hysteria," accusing swindlers of exploiting the paranoia for personal profit.
Russian citizens across the country have been preparing for the end of the world in all manner of weird and wonderful ways, with "doomsday hysteria" taking hold.
From sensible precautions which should be practiced by everyone in a time of economic turmoil, such as stocking up on storable food and water, to fevered panic buying, reactions have been varied.
Residents in the town of Omutninsk reacted to hearing a doomsday prophecy from a Tibetan monk by buying up all the candles in the whole region. In Tomsk, "end of the world kits" have been flying off the shelves. They include vodka, buckwheat, candles, matches, a can of sprat fish, and a notepad and a pencil "to write letters to future generations."
The New York Times reported on an incident which took place at a female prison near the Chinese border where inmates experienced a "collective mass psychosis" about the end of the world and had to be calmed by a priest.
Rev. Tikhon Irshenko also reported that prisoners at Prison Colony No. 10 in the village of Gornoye had broken out of the jail “because of their disturbing thoughts” about the Mayan prophecy.
However, end times hysteria is not just restricted to Russia.
Authorities have been forced to block access to a mountain in the picturesque south-western French village of Bugarach because believers claim that aliens are hidden in the caverns below the mountain and are waiting to depart once doomsday begins to unfold.
NASA also recently warned that there are very real threats surrounding the Mayan prophecies that have nothing to do with the end of the world, cautioning that people who are already prone to suicide or other acts of violence could be spurred to carry out such acts as a consequence of the hysteria being generated by doomsday hype.