A huge puddle in Russia’s Far East city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is labeled as “invincible,” as it has somehow remained unfixed for over a quarter of a century. It happens to have its own Instagram page with over 16,000 followers.
As it usually occurs in Russia and various eastern European countries, which began as a tiny pothole slowly turned into a huge puddle. It received that rank in 1994, and locals have struggled to get local authorities to fix it since then. To date, it seems to be a failed task, as organized repairs have been delayed continuously.
Meanwhile, an exasperated local known just as Nikolay decided that the 25-year-old pothole had lasted long enough to have its own Instagram page and started one for it in September. The hilarious, sarcastic posts created in first-person quickly became viral and got the local government to respond.
“Hey, everyone! I’m the puddle close to Tikhookeanskaya Street 10, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. I’ve just become 25, and it’s time to take over Instagram like an adult!” the puddle’s initial Instagram post read. It was an interesting start, but only the first in continuity of witty posts that took up the social network and local authorities by storm.
After four days of its start, the infamous puddle’s page gained over 3,000 visitors. Post a week; it had received so much attention online and in Russian mainstream media that authorities in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk had no option but to take action.
Amazingly, after the local begged to local government to fix the huge puddle in 2014, work was delayed to 2017 and later to 2024, so the mediation was clearly a sign of frustration. But in place of just covering it up permanently, they chose to do a temporary fix instead.
“Looks a quite a lot like dry mud that’s been applied with heavy construction machinery,” the puddle commented on its Instagram page, stating that “we’ll see each other again during the next rainstorm.”
The puddle’s assumption was accurate, and the coming proper rainfall was enough to bring the puddle its glory, huger than ever and keen to let its return on social media be known.
“What’s up! Missed me? I missed all of you, too,” the puddle commented on Instagram. “So much that even that weird blanky they tried to cover me with couldn’t keep me back. Today is an awesome rainy day, so if anyone wants to come, say ‘Hi,’ I’ll gladly welcome them! We’ll have fun; there’s enough of me for selfies with everyone!”
Nearing the end of October, the 25-year-old puddle of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk had turned into a social media sensation, with Russian YouTubers and influencers making the trip to the Far East city to have their photos taken with it or utilize it as a backdrop for sketches.
The puddle became so famous that at one point, it began plugging (sic) “sister puddles” from Russia and Ukraine on its Instagram page. One of these puddles got to be the scene of a viral photoshoot, with two models photographed with paddleboards in it.
In November, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk authorities made another fixing attempt at the nuisance puddle, draining it and one more time filling it with the same “dry mud.” Then temperatures started dropping, and that managed to keep it in hibernation, at least till spring. But grapevine in the city is that permanent fixtures postponed to 2024 were to take place next year to avoid officials any more embarrassment.
Followers of the 25-year-old puddle will be glad to know that the puddle will most likely live through 2021 as well. At the beginning of this month, the puddle went to Instagram to thank Sergei Vyacheslavovich Dmitriev, the head of the city Duma of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk not adding it to the list of big repairs for the upcoming year.
“My dear friends, if, like me, you are overwhelmed with great joy in connection with this news, then you should not restrain yourself,” the puddle uploaded. “You can personally express your gratitude to Sergei Dmitriev for such concern about preserving me in my current state.”
The tale of Russia’s 25-year-old puddle carries on. At the given rate, it might become the world’s oldest puddle in history.
This isn’t the first time that a Russian puddle became a social media sensation. Previously in 2017, fashion blogger Anna Moskvicheva wore a Baywatch-style swimsuit and a huge inflatable flamingo and took a series of photos in her home city of Saratov.