SIBERIAN TIMESThe blaze took place in Lenin Square in the Sakhalin island capital
Thousands of revellers attending the festivities in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk watched in horror as the devastating blaze in the city square destroyed the tree in minutes.
The attendees were warned to keep clear as the Soviet-era music kept blaring from a festive concert.
The blaze took place in Lenin Square in the Sakhalin island capital.
Temperatures were below zero at a perishing -6C, but the plastic burned with immense intensity and within minutes there was only a metal frame intact.Related articles
Firefighters were called but the tree was destroyed by the time they arrived.
Videos of the event went viral along with jokes about a hot New Year party in the Russia Far East.
An investigation is underway into the cause of the fire.
But despite the horror, the New Year was toasted successfully in a more traditional fireworks display in the city and across Russia.
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