By Tim Binnall
Residents of a Russian community where coal mining is king woke up to a wondrous sight this week when the normally-brown snow on the ground had become white, but it turns out that the transformation was no Christmas miracle. The strange incident reportedly occurred in the Siberian town of Mysky where dirty snow is prevalent due to pollution. This apparently proved to be too much an eyesore for some local officials who took it upon themselves to paint the snow white!
The poorly-conceived cover-up soon unraveled when surprised residents realized that it was all a ruse. Fortunately for those who might think that this story is too strange to be true, one woman went so far as to film the faux winter wonderland for the world to see. In the somewhat amusing footage, she and a friend can be heard whispering in voices that sound tinged with amazement as they wipe a glistening snow bank with their hands and reveal that they have become covered in white paint.
In response to being busted for painting the snow, the town's mayor explained that workers tasked with gathering snow for a hill where children could play had apparently been unable to find enough clean material to use. As such, he said, they came up with the rather disastrous DIY project. The mayor went on to assure residents that he'd ordered the snow to be immediately cleaned and apologized to "the townspeople to whom this incident spoiled the New Year mood."