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Officials to Start Using Simple Russian to Communicate With Residents

Moscow officials are being asked to take “simple Russian” language classes out of concern that their formal writing style is incomprehensible to the city's population.

The language lessons are meant to instill a more customer friendly communication style among officials, who have been forbidden from replying to complaints "with a single sentence that looks like a large paragraph in which the subject, the predicate and its entire meaning are unclear," head of the personnel directorate, Alexandra Alexandrova said, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.

The courses are being taught at the Moscow City University of Management.

"It is true. Officials lack writing skills. Very often, they use formal language in order to avoid addressing the resident's question," she said, adding that many officials use the same templates several times to reply to citizens' complaints.

The Moscow government website, Nash Gorod, has also started rating officials' replies to residents' complaints, on the basis of how easy they are to understand, with bonuses being awarded to those who rank highest.

In one example of a complaint filled on Nash Gorod in late September, one resident wrote, "The lantern near our entrance does not work!"

The official reply in October read, "Dear resident! In connection with your application an instruction has been issued toward the municipal council of the city of Moscow concerning the adoption of measures for reinstating the function of illumination."

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