- Getty/Manuel Romaris
- A Russian Instagrammer is facing criticizm after driving a car through protected geothermal land in Iceland and posting about it on social media.
- Alexander Tikhomirov had to be rescued by police and was fined for his actions as it’s illegal to drive off-road in the country.
- The influencer has been heavily criticized for being “disrespectful.”
- However, Tikhomirov has said he didn’t know driving off-road was illegal.
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An Instagram star has found himself facing the wrath of Icelanders after driving his car through protected geothermal land and posting pictures posing there when his car got stuck in the soil.
Russian filmmaker and photographer Alexander Tikhomirov has 320,000 followers on Instagram, and has recently found himself at the centre of a social media storm after receiving a sizeable backlash on one of his recent posts.
The photo series shows Tikhomirov posing in front of his car, which is stuck in the soft soil of the protected geothermal area of Mývatn.
In the caption, which was written in Russian, the influencer wrote alongside a smiley face that he was fined “a tidy sum” for driving in the area, something which has been confirmed by local police, who issued a sizeable fine after rescuing him.
It’s illegal to drive off-road in Iceland due to its extremely fragile topsoil, which is expensive to repair when damaged.
People took to the comments on Tikhomirov’s photo to express their upset at his actions.
“This is incredibly disrespectful, after you got fined by the police for banned off-road driving you pose by the rental car at the scene. Shame on you,” commented one person on the Instagram post.
“What the hell. It is illegal to drive off-road in Iceland. You have damaged a piece of land that will take years to recover and it is not cool at all bragging about it. I hope you will enjoy paying the huge fine the police gave you. Learn something from this. We allowed you to travel through our country and see the best of the nature. Respect it please,” added another.
“You should be ashamed of yourself, very disrespectful. Please leave and never come back to Iceland!” another angry Icelander wrote.
The furore has even led the Russian Embassy in Reykjavík to issue a statement asking Russians to respect Iceland’s laws, rules, and customs.
The influencer has since provided an explanation of what happened in an Instagram story.
Tikhomirov explained that he didn’t know it was illegal to drive off-road in Iceland, and said he “saw a lot of car wheel tracks on the side of the road.”
He added that he got stuck after turning off the road to get closer to the fog for a picture.
According to Tikhomirov, after police found him, he was fined and had to pay for a car rental. He said locals who recognized him from coverage of the story then threw plastic bottles at his car.
“You think I’m an animal? I think you guys are animals,” he said.
Tikhomirov has not responded to INSIDER’s request for comment.