At first glance, this almost appears to be a Russian Burning Man event, but it's actually something much different. Turns out, this was a celebration for a Maslenitsa holiday. Burning the scarecrow is part of the tradition, however, this year in Saint Petersburg, they interestingly decided to use a tank to initiate the fire.
It worked perfectly and gave the crowd a good show, so check it out in the clip below.
I, like many reading this, do not live in Russia, so I had to do a little research on the holiday, and here's what I found. This is actually only a portion of the celebration. Maslenitsa is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday, and its significance is seeing off the last week of winter before Great Lent. The celebrations last the entire week, and include dressing up, making blini (pancakes), having snowball fights, going on sleigh rides, and enjoying bonfires. Of course, burning the scarecrow is also a big part of the festivities.
Watching this tank shoot the scarecrow is actually pretty cool. After firing, it doesn't appear to completely work at first. We just see a plume of white smoke emerge without much actual fire. Lo and behold, after a few seconds, we see the flames erupt and the burning commence. As the camera pans around, we see loads of spectators surrounding the spectacle filming with their phones. I'd call this a pretty good success.
A look inside other cultures is always interesting, especially when you're talking about Russia. We've certainly seen no shortage of crazy activities over there, and this one is no exception. Videos are only so capable of sharing so much of an experience, but I guarantee that tank shot was even more exciting to witness in person.
This post was originally published on April 25, 2021.