The modern world turns to happiness because the consumption-based development model is close to exhaustion – Valentina Matviyenko

The Federation Council Speaker met with the participants of the Terra Scientia national youth forum on Lake Senezh.

Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko met with the participants of the Terra Scientia national youth educational forum on Lake Senezh. She spoke in the Ecomedia-Education session.

The forum brought together faculty, students and young professionals.

Valentina Matviyenko noted the importance of meeting with young people. “The main thing is that the state needs you; you are in demand; you will build the future of our country, so conditions for self-realisation are being created for you here – at home – because Russia is a country of opportunity.”

The Federation Council Speaker was proposed the concept of happiness to kick-start the discussion. But there is no such thing as a universal concept of happiness, she said.

“At any time, every nation, based on its culture and traditions, has a different concept, like every person. But there are some common fundamental aspects of happiness: family, children, parents. The word “happiness” is increasingly present in speeches by politicians, statesmen, in party programmes, and in public organisations’ documents.”

A few years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution urging the UN member countries to evaluate the happiness of their people, and supported the creation of a new economic paradigm to contribute to achieving happiness, Valentina Matviyenko told the audience.

“The reason the modern world has turned to the concept of happiness, to felicitary policies, that is, policies for achieving happiness, is because it feels that the consumption-based model as an incentive for the development of mankind is close to exhaustion. It has run into objective growth constraints – resource and environmental constraints,” the Speaker of the Federation Council believes. Even countries that are the most prosperous by consumption indicators still have issues with people’s mental, psychological, or moral state. “The conclusion is obvious – this is the way we are: satiety, comfort, and entertainment are clearly not enough for people to feel happy.”

“I believe that the world has come to a bifurcation point where a fateful choice needs to be made without the slightest exaggeration – to continue living in a consumer society and being content with a periodic redecoration, or to build a new model, even a new civilisation, in which a person can feel truly, completely happy,” she said.

This happens when a person has the opportunity for self-realisation, to fully attain their intellectual, professional, spiritual, and creative potential. “A person will feel happy being involved in productive work, creative activity, in harmony with themselves and society.”

The state policy of happiness should be based on this, she added. “A person can only achieve happiness by working for it. The duty of the state is to create the necessary conditions for this – the political, economic, social, and cultural conditions.”

“Our country has now embarked on the path of drafting and implementing a felicitary policy. I am referring to the national projects. Although there is no specific project to achieve a happy life, the national projects in the aggregate, in complex, are aimed at this. All of them are aimed at achieving a new quality of life for the people,” said Valentina Matviyenko.

She invited each of the participants to formulate their own concept of happiness. “Let's use your definitions of happiness to create a tree of happiness. And based on the results of this session, we will prepare a collection with your statements on happiness and publish it.”

The Federation Council Speaker answered several questions from the young people, which concerned, among other things, the development of student organisations, teachers' salaries, inclusive education, and small towns in Russia.