MOSCOW, February 21 (Itar-Tass) — A full-fledged Internet resource will appear by the end of the year that will work on the so-called “electronic democracy” principles. The Information and Public Relations Department of the Russian Ministry of Communications and Mass Media told Itar-Tass that the web portal, which is so far working in a test regime, will allow citizens and whole organisations to collectively prepare, discuss, support and publish appeals with their subsequent sending to departments and organizations.
The Communications Ministry launched the e-democratia.ru website in a test regime early this year within the state program “Information Society,” the ministry said. It specified that 10 municipalities of the Ulyanovsk region were initially connected to the portal, and in the near future it is planned to connect 50 more municipalities. “Municipalities wishing to join the project may send their applications to the ministry,” said the source. According to the ministry department official, the portal’s “commercial operation” will be launched by the year's end, this website should become all-Russian.
Both individual citizens and organizations can be registered on the web portal, for this it is necessary to specify the region and locality. At present, the discussion of 33 topics relates to problems of housing, transport, health and education, the environment and state regulation is underway.
As follows from the information posted on the website, immediately after the issue’s publication the user will be able to print the appeal and send it with his signature to the organization. Other users can assess the importance of the issue and vote for the problem's settlement by publicly supporting the author and adding their names to the list of supporters. After that the appeal is sent to the needed organization on a special form. The organization’s response is brought to the attention of all users who have declared their interest in the topic, and everyone has the right to publicly assess it. These appraisals are later used for the organization’s rating in the information system. All the issues the website users are concerned with are marked on the map of Russia posted on the main page.
Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin stated in one of his program articles that the country’s citizens should have a possibility to use the Internet to influence government decision-making. He expressed the view that public initiatives that draw more than 100 thousand signatures on the Internet must necessarily be considered in the State Duma. He also stressed the need to develop a formal registration procedure for those who want to become participants in this system.