It was 9 months ago when we reported that workers in Ulyanovsk, Russia, were given a half-day off and instructional pamphlets in order to "Create a Patriot" for Russia Day on June 12, 2008--and possibly win a car. Now we will deliver an update.
"Conception Day," an idea conceived by Regional Governor Sergei Morozov, seems to have been fruitful. According to press reports, the number of babies born on June 12 at the main Ulyanovsk regional hospital was 3 times greater than last year on that date. And the birthrate for the Ulyanovsk area is up 4.5 percent over the last year.
Morozov designated all babies born on June 12 as "patriots" and awarded a black SUV to a happy set of new parents. He also awarded televisions, refrigerators, and money and commented that "children create a healthy atmosphere in our country." Vladimir Putin agrees; he is offering $9,000 bonuses to eligible women for having a second or third child. Currently, the birthrate in Russia is not great enough to sustain the current population level.
In other HR news from Ulyanovsk , Governor Morozov has instructed officials of the region to learn English in order to communicate with potential investors in the region without the use of translators. Morozov says "it's better if people can talk together directly," according to TimesonLine, which also reports that officials must repeat courses until they pass a basic test, although they will not be penalized financially for failures. Speaking English is not a legal requirement for state employees, the article states. Morozov is taking his own advice by brushing up on the language himself.
Sources: TimesOnline, Mygtv.net, FirstThings.com