Russian officials create Santa letter template

Russia's Grandfather Frost meets people Image copyright STR/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Grandfather Frost delivers presents to Russian children on New Year's Eve

Russia's media regulator has offered official guidance on children's letters to Grandfather Frost, the country's equivalent of Father Christmas, over concerns that youngsters are handing over too much personal information.

Roskomnadzor, which also regulates telecoms, says it's seen a growth in the number of websites offering letters to Grandfather Frost which collect children's personal details. In a post on the VKontake social network it says it's investigating 76 such sites.

The suggested letter is rather formal, but opens in traditional fashion with blank spaces for children to fill in their first name, age and good behaviour. "This year I have been studying very well... I was obedient to my parents," the letter template reads, before adding a few lines on the weather. "They say that you give presents to children for the New Year. Please give me and my parents [blank]. I would be very grateful for this present. Thank you!"

Image copyright Roskomnadzor
Image caption The government's sample letter includes festive clip art

The regulator also warns parents and children that the real Grandfather Frost "will never ask for your precious personal details" such as full name, date of birth, address or school.

Russians responding to the organisation's VKontakte post aren't very impressed by the move. "Such nonsense - is this what taxpayers' money is spent on?" reads one comment. Another person wonders if officials have nothing else to do: "Prices are going up, mass redundancies, and they are writing letters to Grandfather Frost."

But one user was inspired to create his own template mocking the authorities and the political climate in Russia. "My name is [blank]. I love living in Russia. In the election my parents voted for [blank]. This year I didn't visit banned internet sites," the letter reads. "I support the destruction of food items under the sanctions and re-unification with Crimea. Don't give me any presents, I have everything! Please ban even more streaming websites next year! Thank you!"

Next story: Black swan sculpture unnerves Beijing investors

Use #NewsfromElsewhere to stay up-to-date with our reports via Twitter.

Related Topics