It has been revealed by Russia Now, a news blog that reports ‘beyond the headlines in Russia’, that people in the city of Tomsk, Western Siberia, are preparing for the end of the world.

The survival kit pictured above was put together by none other than a wedding planning company. Seems a bit morbid for a company that makes money on helping people plan their special day, but perhaps it’s intended to encourage couples to tie the knot before it’s too late?

The reason a survival kit is necessary in the first place is because of the rumour and Internet scaremongering surrounding the ancient Mayan calendar, which some allege puts the date of the end of the world at December 21st, 2012. On paper it does look kinda scary, all those ones and twos lining up like that, but really? That is just around the corner!

The president of the wedding planning company, Yurianna Shichogorewa, leapt at the chance to implement a new marketing strategy with this prophecy, coming up with the idea for a survival kit. Borrowing tips from a Mexican acquaintance, she was able to produce a kit in just two weeks. 

In Japan, the variety quiz shows on TV have taken up the theme of the Mayan calendar and the end of the world more than once. Usually the shows follow the format of presenting a study of the Mayan civilization, which existed from 2000 BC to 250 AD in central and south America with its influence reaching as far north as central Mexico, before showing the projected doomsday date in a scary font. It’s safe to say that probably most people in Japan have heard of this prophecy by now, although at present an Internet search suggests that few are preparing for the Apocalypse, with the only other place selling a kit in preparation for the end of the world is Mexico.

In the light of a little enterprising humor, these kits line the shelves of stores in Tomsk. They supply what is needed if the world should come to an end, including an ID card, western herbs for relaxation (definitely necessary for the end of the world!), bandages, blood vessel dilatory agents (for heart attacks), buckwheat for making porridge, canned fish, vodka, a notebook for messages to the future, a pencil, candles, matches, some twine, and, finally, a bar of soap.  The twine and soap are sure to come in handy, but everything will vary in importance according to the user and just how much of a mess the world is when it finally ends.

The kits retail for 2,400 yen ($30 US) and are reportedly selling nicely in shops in Tomsk. 

Proving that she is, in fact, a shrewd business woman and not barking mad,Ms Yurianna Shichogorewa spoke to the media about the kit, saying: “Of course you must have a sense of humor to appreciate the End of the World Kit. They are displayed on shelves in a number of stores throughout the city. Although we are not yet sure of the exact figures, many of them have been bought. We have also come up with a special Christmas present kit which we are putting on shelves now.”

Hopefully we’ll all be relaxing at home during Christmas this year and not using these kits, Christmas present or not, on some barren landscape! (That is, if we survive the end of the world in the first place.)

The items included in the kit add up to a price of 890 rubles ($30) and the store will deliver the kit anywhere within Russia. There might still be time to grab one…