The mayor of a town in Siberia has dismissed reports that its annual Christmas ice skating rink looks like a penis.
The shape of the ice rink looks suspiciously like a piece of classic schoolboy graffiti – and the resemblance is helped by a Christmas tree emerging from its “tip”.
Anatoly Lokot, mayor of Novosibirsk, says that the somewhat rude-looking layout of the Lenina Square ice rink is simply the most efficient shape to make the best use of space while maximising “pleasure.”
“Honestly, both this year and last year, the shape of the ice rink was the last thing we thought about," he said, adding "We thought about the area, and maximising the territory that can be occupied by an ice rink in order not to create crowding."
Speaking to Russian news outlet RIA Novosti, he explained that the penile resemblance is all in people’s minds, adding: “The infrastructure, alleys, and paths are built in that way,” he said.
“As soon as ice appears, someone's imagination begins to play up. I hasten to assume, not a healthy imagination. Apparently, they think about something.”
The public rink, which is situated in front of the Novosibirsk State Opera and Ballet Theatre, drew similar comments last year.
Novosibirsk’s vice-mayor Anna Tereshkova dismissed the criticism, writing on Facebook that “real art should be arousing,” and making it clear that the notorious rink was not going to be redesigned.
Local journalist Yuri Dud was one of the first people to notice the awkward resemblance.
He posted an overhead photo of the rink to his Facebook page. He said that the drone photo showed "what can be described as the power of Siberia.”
It's since been the butt of innumerable good-natured jokes on Russian social media, with scores of commenters remarking on the unfortunate – and hilarious – resemblance.