LAUGH COMRADE LAUGH

An anchor on Russian state TV lit up the Internet after she broke into a lengthy fit of laughter while attempting to inform viewers of an increase in government subsidies to underprivileged people, a response that was apparently triggered by the notion that the amounts involved were ridiculously small.

Vesti Kamchatka’s Aleksandra Novikova could not contain herself while reading the report on a benefits hike that would provide disabled people, war veterans, victims of radiation exposure, and others with an increase that would bring one category of social payments to 1,500 rubles ($23) — of which 900 could be used for medicines, 137 toward a health resort, and the rest (363 rubles, or $5.60) for “international” transportation to such a resort.

After reading much of the news item in a relatively even tone, Novikova lost it as she mentioned the international travel costs, laughing heartily for more than a minute despite attempts to catch her breath and regain her composure.

“I tried, you heard,” she says apologetically at one point, later adding, “Good thing I’m not live.”

The clip was apparently not broadcast live on television or online. But it did attract a lot of attention on social media.

The deputy head of regional departments for the main state broadcaster, the All-Russia State Television and Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), which operates Vesti Kamchatka, hung up when contacted for comment.

More News from Thursday, February 13, 2020