Chinese tourists have earned an unenviable reputation around the world for using any flat surface as a toilet — plane cabins, subway carriages and Burberry sidewalks. Apparently, you can now add Russian palaces to that list.
According to Radio Free Asia, Russian media has recently published outraged reports of a visit made by a Chinese tour group to the lavish Catherine Palace outside of St. Petersburg back on August 2nd — a date that will live in infamy.
A date that is also more than a little fishy. According to the palace’s website, the Catherine Palace is closed on Tuesday. August 2nd was a Tuesday. Radio Free Asia, as well as various Hong Kong and Taiwan media outlets, cite a St. Petersburg TV station in their report.
While touring the 18th century palace, a boy allegedly told his mom that he really needed to pee. Instead of escorting the little guy to one of the palace’s bathrooms, she just let the kid take a piss all over the luxury hardwood floors.
As you might expect, palace staff were more than a little shocked by the incident, saying that it was likely the first time that something like this had happened in the over 250-year history of palace. Historic! Presumably, this was the worst thing to happen there since it was almost completely destroyed by the retreating German army during World War II.
Radio Free Asia reports that the incident has sparked outrage on Russian social media. More and more Chinese tourists are visiting Russians each year, and locals say they are tired of the visitors’ loud and uncivilized behavior. Despite the reported online fury, Shanghaiist has not been able to locate this story on any Russian media outlet.
According to Apple Daily, a member of the Russian tour guides association charged that it is the responsibility of Chinese tour guides to make sure that shameful incidents like this don’t keep happening, by informing their groups that this kind of behavior is simply not acceptable — particularly in the former summer residence of Russian tsars — and telling them where the bathrooms are located in case of emergencies.
The Catherine Palace was originally built in 1717 for Catherine I, a Lithuanian peasant who married Peter the Great and ruled briefly as empress after his death. Finding it too simple for her tastes, the palace was later given a makeover by Catherine’s daughter, Empress Elizabeth, into something more flamboyant to rival Versailles. It houses the reconstructed Amber Room.
[UPDATE: 6pm] The post has been updated to include problems with the alleged date of the incident.
[Images via saint-petersburg.com]