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Nightmare before Christmas: 'Santa' dies at kindergarten party (VIDEO)

Nightmare before Christmas: 'Santa' dies at kindergarten party (VIDEO)
A New Year party at a kindergarten ended in a traumatic experience for the kids as an actor impersonating Father Frost, the Russian counterpart of Santa Claus, experienced heart problems during performance after which he died.

The moods were festive at a daycare center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. The children, all dressed up in costumes of bunnies and snowflakes, sang songs and danced around the brightly decorated New Year’s tree.

The 4-year-olds were a bit nervous to recite the poems they’ve learnt before Father Frost himself. But suddenly the guest of honor, wearing a white beard, a massive hat and a warm red-colored coat, felt sick.

The actor, impersonating Father Frost, “complained about pain in the chest” and collapsed, a witness of the tragedy said.

An ambulance was called, but the 67-year-old died in an emergency vehicle on his way to hospital.

The late Valery Titonenko worked as an actor at Kemerovo’s Music Theatre. He’s been a regular Father Frost at the kindergarten in recent years due to his grandson being in one of the wards.

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It wasn’t the only grim story related to New Year and Christmas celebrations in Russia this week.

A massive scandal shook the Stroimash village outside the city of Sterlitamak in the Republic of Bashkortostan on Monday.

It was revealed that a New Year tree, erected in the center of the village, was actually taken from a local cemetery.

On top of that, the gorgeous 25-year-old fir came from the grave of famous architect, Yury Podryadov.

Earlier, a group of charitable activists vowed to provide a tree to the village as a New Year’s gift. But now the police are searching for them due to the unconventional way they chose to fulfil their promise.

The administration, meanwhile, decided to replace the cemetery fir with another one after its origins became known.

READ MORE: School principal 'steals' Christmas with ban on Santa, candy canes, red & green colors

In Soviet times, the New Year replaced Christmas as the main winter holiday and the tradition remains strong in modern Russia. As for Christmas, Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on January 7 due to the difference between the Julian and the Gregorian calendars.

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