Russia’s E-Government Project Reaches its First Stage

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Apr. 9 – As a part of the Federal e-government project, a state e-mail service will start its trial period this week in Russia.

The service will allow citizens to communicate with officials and have access to public services via the Internet by the end of 2010, as announced by the Russian CNews.

The e-mail service will provide Russians with the opportunity to apply for official documents and receive them without having to stand in long queues. Earlier the head of the Russian Ministry of Communications and Information, Igor Shegolev pointed out 300 different state services to be made available on gosuslugi.ru in this year.

The Federal Program “eRussia” started nine years ago and 16 billion roubles have been spent on it in the last six years alone. However, according to MEDT data, there have been no obvious results of the expenditure as more than 75 percent of country’s official Internet sites have not promoted anything further than information about available state services. This year ‘eRussia’ has been replaced by a new project named “E-Government” with a 1.2 billion roubles budget for the year 2011.

Realization of the new project will go through five different stages. During the first stage, e-government will start accepting tax declarations and pension payment applications while citizens can get building permits, register individual businesses and fill up passports applications online. According to the service developers, the first e-mail messages from citizens will come this week.

The e-government’s goal is for electronic interaction to account for 65 percent of internal communications and up to 40 percent of communications between federal, regional, and local governments. In 2001, the level of government online usage was only 3 percent. To further dampen this figure, 62 percent of internet users thought that use of online government service was unsafe.

To open an account on the state server, individuals are asked to provide personal data like names, date of birth, cell phone number and an e-mail address. Besides this tax bearer (INN) and insurance numbers of individual personal account (INIPA) are also required. The first is given out by branches of Federal Tax Service, the second by the Pension Fund. The account registration process involves receiving three different confirmation codes, the last of which is delivered by post.

According to Online Market Intelligence (OMI) survey data conducted in Russia in 2008, 90 percent of respondents found it necessary to communicate with authorities by means of the Internet. Responders also specified the main state services for which online dialogue is needed – 61 percent voted for housing and communal services sector, 41 percent for traffic police, 34.7 percent for the mayor, 32 percent for law-enforcement bodies and 29.6 percent for courts. The survey also found that 34 percent of respondents tried to get feedback from authorities through contact details posted on their sites,and more than 40 percent aren’t even partly satisfied by results.

The e-government initiative is the part of efforts by the Russian government to create an electronic public service system, intended to reduce the level of corruption and red tape in the country. With the e-government, Russian citizens can hopefully expect to see less bureaucracy in their dealings with the government. Following the West’s lead, “The Russian Government wants to use IT to make official information more accessible and to reduce the heavy bureaucratic burden on citizens and businesses. It also wants to improve efficiency in federal and local governments by transferring as much of the state’s work online as possible,” this was the statement on the official site of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

Electronic government, also known as e-gov, digital government, online government or in a certain contexts – transformational government, refers to the use of internet technology as a platform for exchanging information, providing services and transacting with citizens, businesses and other arms of the government. E-government may be applied by the legislature, judiciary, or administration, in order to improve internal efficiency, the delivery of public services, or processes of democratic governance. Reports suggest that Rostelecom a subsidiary of Russia’s state-run telecoms giant Svyazinvest will operate the project

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