Russia has told its citizens that the world will not end on December 21. Moscow’s minister of emergency situations is alarmed at the growing panic among many people that an ancient prophecy that armageddon will occur on that date is true. Ancient Mayans claimed that is the day a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count in the Mayan calendar supposedly comes to a close. Many in Russia, where mystical thinking is popular, have taken notice. A huge Mayan-style archway is being built out of ice in Chelyabinsk in the south of the country. This has alarmed government staff who have taken the unusual step of issuing a statement that the end of the world is not nigh. The ministry said it had access to ‘methods of monitoring what is occurring on Earth’, and could say with confidence all will be well.