Russian Town Bans Phrase “I Don’t Know”

Have you ever tried to get anything done — report theft, start a business, get a driver’s license — in Eastern Europe? If so, you will appreciate what Alexander Kuzmin, the 33-year old mayor of a Siberian oil town of Megion, is trying to do: make bureaucrats more friendly.

He has banned the following phrases among state employees:

  • I don’t know
  • I can’t
  • What can we do
  • It’s not my job
  • It’s impossible
  • I am having lunch
  • There is no money
  • I was sick/on vacation

If they banned these in all of Eastern Europe, state employees would become officially mute. And they say Russia is not progressive. Pretty soon, their bureaucrats might even smile!

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