Governor Aman Tuleyev of the Kemerovo region in Siberia - also known as Kuzbass after one of the world's largest coal basins - had announced that he would start paying plus-size residents in tonnes of coal in his quest for 'healthy people'. A nurse in a Siberian town was in for a holiday surprise after local authorities presented her with a truckload of coal - a prize for shedding over 30 kilograms through the governor's weight-loss challenge.
After months of skiing, bicycling and rollerblading, a much slimmer Yelena Salnikova of the town of Berezovsky watched a grimy Kamaz truck drive up to her home and dump five tonnes of coal on the ground.
‘In his quest for 'healthy people' the Governor of a Siberian town had announced that he would start paying plus-size residents in tonnes of coal if they shed the extra kilos. A nurse who lost 30 kilograms watched a grimy Kamaz truck drive up to her home and dump five tonnes of coal.’
Salnikova said, "It's lump coal, it burns very hot. Three buckets would be enough for one day."
Russia is one of the world's top coal exporters, with most coming from the Kuzbass coal mining basin in Siberia, including the Kemerovo region.
It is also the second fattest ex-Soviet country, behind Lithuania, according to the World Health Organisation figures for 2014.
Identified by the media as a 43-year-old head nurse in the town's clinic and captain of its comedy club team, Salnikova appeared pleased with her prize and posed for the cameras in some of her old outfits.
Stretching out the now cavernous waistline of an old pair of sweatpants with her thumb and waving a giant pink blouse with sequins on it, she said it wasn't vanity that pushed her to slim down but health concerns like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Salnikova, who went from 112 kilograms to 80 kilograms since the summer, said, "I looked at this pile of pills and I understood that it's become too awful."
Anton Gorelkin, a spokesman for the governor, said, "The coal-fuelled challenge has already inspired a TV show on a regional entertainment channel. In the future, people's weight loss for coal will only be happening on the STS-Kuzbass show and nowhere else."