It might seem strange for a city that was only recently the epicenter of two detrimental and demoralizing wars, but a new survey by the NewsEffector website claims that Grozny is now Russia’s “happiest” city.
With nearly 27,000 respondents polled across the Russian Federation, the Chechen capital edged out Siberia’s Tyumen and the Tatar capital, Kazan, to top the list as the most blissed out city.
For a town that has only started to find its feet after suffering repeated bombardments and widespread violence over the past two decades, Grozny’s newfound happiness may come as a surprise to many.
“The Chechen capital’s first place on the index of happiness among the Russian regions was quite unexpected,” said NewsEffector’s director, Sergei Moroz. “This is due mainly to the fact that in recent years it has changed tremendously for the better.”
Respondents in the survey had to answer six questions: How happy are you with your financial situation? Are you satisfied with the state of the environment in your city? Do you feel safe in your city? Are you satisfied with how your city is developing? How happy are you with the development of urban infrastructure? and Do you feel happy in your city?
Although only 23 percent of Grozny’s denizens felt they had enough money in their pockets, the city scored highly among the other criteria, getting scores of around 70-80 percent in other categories, such as its environmental state, rate of development, and feelings of happiness.
The “fearsome“ fortress city’s high-ranking performance in the poll may have a lot to do with the fact that it is finally beginning to enjoy a certain amount of stability after decades of near chaos.
Chechnya’s strongman leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has spent huge amounts of money in rebuilding Grozny since he came to power in 2007. He is also credited with having restored order in the once-lawless city, although there are many who would argue that he has achieved this through repression and fear.
Somewhat surprisingly, Moscow fared quite badly in the survey. Although most of the Russian capital’s citizens were happy with their finances, they were less than enthused about the city’s environment, safety levels, and rate of development.
Courtesy of: RFE/RL