Big government goes online
A website is being launched which will allow every Russian citizen to become a participant in an extended government.
The project, initiated by President Dmitry Medvedev in mid-October, was launched by the Public Committee of the President’s Supporters.“This is a mechanism to receive feedback from citizens,” State Duma deputy Robert Shlegel told Izvestia daily. He said that everyone will be invited to join the extended government.To register, users will have to indicate their profession. Then they will be regularly notified of online discussions relating to their field of expertise, given the opportunity to express their views on the initiatives of the president, and to vote. Anonymous visitors to the site will only be able to comment without the possibility of voting. There are 60 million internet users in Russia, so potentially more than 40 per cent of citizens will be able to take part in the work of online government.The website is the first step in putting into practice the president’s vision of an extended government, outlined by Medvedev earlier this month. Shortly after the announcement, he met with representatives of the Public Committee of President’s Supporters, a newly-established body tasked with forming the extended government. During the meeting, he stressed that in putting forward the idea he “didn't mean an increase in the number of bureaucrats.” Among more than 80 members of the Supporters Committee, there are only three government officials. They are from the Ministry of Economic Development and the Justice Ministry. The committee is divided into thematic groups, which include housing, business, social policy, military and defense, and culture.