The apocalypse is coming and — if you believe in that sort of thing — Russia will be ground zero.
That's the only reasonable explanation for a recent spate of freakish events in the country.
From bears flipping out and gigantic holes appearing in the ground to hailstorms and blizzards in the middle of summer, Russia has seen its fair share of weirdness of late. And it's starting to concern us.
Here’s a recap:
The bears are even more murderous than usual
In recent months, a series of bear attacks across Russia killed at least three people and wounded several others. Three people died in a single incident in June on the island of Sakhalin, off Russia's Pacific coast. The video posted above shows footage purportedly filmed by one of the victims as the bear charged the group of construction workers. Haunting.
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A separate incident almost pushed the death toll to four, but Justin Bieber saved the day. A bear was in the middle of mauling a fisherman somewhere in the country’s north when the man's cellphone rang and Bieber’s "Baby" song started playing. The bear had an understandable, and very human, reaction to Bieber's music — he fled.
Vladimir Krever, director of the biodiversity program at WWF Russia, told the Guardian that the series of bear attacks could be the result of extreme weather conditions, which can upset bears' biorhythms and food supply.
Mysterious holes are appearing all over the place
— scheinwelt23 (@scheinwelt23) July 20, 2014
At least three gigantic holes have appeared in Siberia, and scientists are convinced they are the result of an explosion of subterranean methane gas triggered by rising air temperatures — a.k.a global warming.
The methane is normally trapped in the permafrost, but unusually hot summers in 2012 and 2013 may have caused the icy ground to thaw and collapse, releasing the gas. The government, with the help of scientists, is carrying out an in-depth investigation into the cause of the mysterious craters, which some have attributed to meteorites and aliens.
More holes are expected to appear as temperatures continue to rise. And so, we wait.
Hailstorms and blizzards are confused about when to wreak their havoc
Swimmers and sunbathers were enjoying a relaxing day at the beach near the Siberian city of Novosibirsk last month when they were battered by a freak hailstorm that also claimed the lives of two girls. The video posted above shows swimmers running out of the water and huddling under umbrellas as hailstones the size of golf balls rained down on them.
At around the same time, Zlatoust, a town in the Ural Mountains on the western fringe of Siberia, was blanketed with snow after heavy rain turned into a blizzard. Snowfalls were also reported in other parts of the region. You could be excused for thinking otherwise, but you should know that snow in this part of Russia in the middle of summer is not normal. In fact, it's never happened before.
A giant meteor exploded
Ok, so this one happened more than a year ago, but it’s still worth mentioning that a 65-foot-wide meteor exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013. The asteroid was 30 times as powerful as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, and it made shockwaves powerful enough to knock people off their feet, blow out windows, and damage buildings beneath its path as it blazed across central Russia. Hundreds of people were injured by the fireball, which caused skin and retinal burns.
So, if the end of the world starts in Russia, don't say you weren't warned.