October 12, 2020

Smile, or Else



Smile, or Else
Perhaps the new ministry can invest in a lively paint job for some old apartments? R. Sieben, Wikimedia Commons

Russians sport the stereotype of being cold and dour folks – at least until they open up with the help of a little vodka. Now, however, a new ministry in the Far East region of Kamchatka flies in the face of that characterization.

The new "Ministry of Happiness" is set to boost residents' well-being. Of course, that doesn't make the name sound any less dystopian.

The Ministry will deal largely with social services, such as family health and eldercare. The governor behind the project, newly elected in September with over 80% of the vote, stressed that the purpose of the Ministry's activities is, above all, to ensure that people are happy.

“Happiness, on the one hand, cannot be measured, but on the other hand, I am deeply convinced that just such a global moral guideline should be addressed by leaders of the regions,” he's quoted as saying. "It is really important for me that, in my position, I can make hundreds of thousands of people a little happier every day."

Sounds like a noble cause, albeit perhaps a better mission for a circus performer than a governor.

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