MOSCOW, November 21 (RIA Novosti) – A crash course in preparing for the upcoming apocalypse, which is scheduled for December 21, opened in the city of Simferopol in Ukraine’s Crimea republic, local media said on Wednesday.
Concerned citizens are advised to move with their families to the countryside and stock up on candles, matches and water because the power will be out, said the course’s organizer, identified only as Alexander, Segodnya.ua news website reported.
“Take it easy and do not panic,” Alexander said, echoing the classic advice for interstellar travelers from Douglas Adams’ novel Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which also urged users to avoid panicking in dire straits.
“Everything shall pass,” Alexander added. But he admitted the possibility that the end of the world will have no follow-up, urging his audience to pay back all debts and ask for forgiveness.
The courses are free and attract between 10 and 15 people per lecture, the report said.
At least one local man reportedly complied, storming a bank office to pay off a loan ahead of schedule because he “wanted no remorse in the afterlife.”
Many discothèques, nightclubs and tour guides in Simferopol have jumped on the apocalypse bandwagon, offering end-of-the-world tours and theme parties, the website said.
Residents of several Russian provinces were also reported to be stocking up on food and candles ahead of the end of the world, and a man from Kemerovo region unsuccessfully sought to weasel out of a 1,000-ruble ($30) fine in October for causing a car crash, citing eschatological expectations. In Latvia, several locals sought to obtain insurance from the apocalypse and the coming of the fictional monster Cthulhu, but were refused because the premiums were found impossible to estimate.
Current end of the world estimates are based on a 5,000-year-long Maya calendar which has Dec. 21, 2012 as a final date, according to some interpretations. Possible means for delivering the apocalypse include the coming of a vengeful Mayan god or collision with the hypothetical planet Nibiru, a version favored, among others, by Russian politician Svetlana Piunova.
Mainstream scientists dismiss the apocalyptic predictions as groundless, and Russia’s chief meteorologist, Roman Vilfand, said earlier this month that his agency forecasts no end of the world in the coming weeks.