JOURNAL OF GOVERNANCE AND POLITICS

JOURNAL OF GOVERNANCE AND POLITICS

SCHOOL OF GOVERNANCE AND POLITICS, MGIMO UNIVERSITY, RUSSIA

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E-government in Russia: Practices and Developments

Yuliya S. Gorelova,
School of Governance and Politics, MGIMO University

Abstract

At the end of the 20th century society began to move from the industrial to the post-industrial stage of development, the service sector began to play an important role in the political and social world. Processes of integration and globalization started to bring interstate cooperation to a new level. Information and knowledge have become not only the main factor of production, but also the driving force of economic development. At the same time, telecommunication technologies began to develop rapidly. During this period the state faced the need to automate administration processes, it was assumed that citizens should be able to receive support on a specific issue in a short period of time. In this regard, the so-called concept of "e-government" has gained great popularity. The aim of this article is to analyze the legal framework of e-government in the Russian Federation, its development trends, as well as its areas of application in the social, political and economic life of our state.

Keywords: e-government, information and communication technologies, platform, bureaucracy, Information Society.

Theoretical Foundations of E-Government

In Russia this term appeared in the 90s of the twentieth century, it began to be used to describe the processes of informatization of public authorities. Attempts to introduce the concept of "e-government" in Russia took place at the end of the 20th century, however, it was implemented only in the first decade of the 21st century. Today the process of improvement of most of the bureaucratic procedures that existed earlier can be noticed in the Russian Federation: they have been replaced by more convenient and faster operations. This greatly simplified the interaction procedure not only of the state apparatus and individuals, but also of legal entities (commercial and non-profit organizations).

E-government as a scientific field is relatively new and rapidly developing due to changes in the field of information technology. The field of study is closely connected to state and municipal government, strategic and innovative management, political science and information technology. E-government is a special system of interaction between the state, citizens and business at a qualitatively new level, ensuring a high degree of public participation in government processes (Holmes, 2004). This definition implies the transformation of relations between citizens, the state and business to a new level of interaction through the use of information technology. It is a platform that allows the state and citizens to interact with each other (Akopov, 2008). With the help of it the state is starting to use a new format for the provision of public services, they are becoming faster, more convenient, cheaper and more consumer-oriented. It involves the participation of society in improving the quality of services provided by the state. The processes of development of e-government are becoming closely linked with the democratization of society, increasing the level of political participation, as well as increasing the level of responsibility of a citizen. Thus, in this context, researchers begin to use a new term - e-democracy, which is gaining relevance today.

E-government is not only an implementation of information and telecommunication technologies in the activities of public authorities. The main goal of e-government is reducing the amount of paperwork and bureaucracy in the interaction of society and the state by automating most of the processes taking place in the state apparatus. At the same time, one of the goals of introducing e-government is to minimize the human factor in the work of the state apparatus and to reduce personal interaction between the man requesting the service and the man performing it. However, e-government is only a tool of the state apparatus, it does not become a new state body, but is only a new way of interaction between the state and society using information and communication technologies. The main term that arises in the context of e-government is “public services”. In the Russian Federation, such activities are carried out through the public services portal[1].

Trends and features of the development of e-government in the Russian Federation and its legal framework

In Russia the term e-government is applicable both to public administration, where the main actors from the state are federal and regional executive bodies, and to municipal administration. The Russian Federation actively supports the implementation of e-government. In Russia its main tasks are ensuring the openness of the activities of state authorities and improving the quality of their work. The beginning of the formation of modern e-government legislation in the Russian Federation can be generally attributed to the creation of the state program "Electronic Russia 2002-2010", which was one of the first serious steps in implementing this area of state development[2]. This state program pursued several goals: providing citizens with access to information on the activities of public authorities in electronic form, organizing an effective exchange of information between government departments of the Russian Federation and others. However, researchers identify several failures associated with the work on this state project: there was no coherence in the use of information and communication technologies between government bodies, which led to illogical and irrational nature of the decisions. Some scientists expressed the idea that one of the negative effects of the implementation of this program was the development of the so-called "e-corruption", which consists in the excess of authority on the part of public servants when using information and communication technologies (Kashina, 2009).

At the moment, one of the main documents regulating the development trends of the electronic government in Russia is the state program “Information Society 2011-2020". This program has become a logical continuation of "Electronic Russia", but took into account most of its shortcomings. The program is in accordance with the concept of long-term social-economic development of the Russian Federation for the period until 2020. In accordance with these programs, one of the main goals of the state are improving digital literacy of citizens, rising the quality and accessibility of public services, increasing the contribution to the economic development of the country through the use of information and telecommunication digital technology. On March 29, 2019, the new version of the state program “ Information Society” was released, it defines priorities, tasks and measures for the implementation of the domestic and foreign policies of the Russian Federation in the application of information and communication technologies aimed at developing the information society, creating a national digital economy, ensuring national interests and implementation of strategic national priorities[3]. Among the main tasks of the state program "Information Society" there are very important goals in the field of information technology: the prevention of threats to information security, ensuring the safe storage, processing and transmission of data in the interests of the state, society and business. This is especially important for innovative developments in the information sphere and in the field of national defense.

In accordance with the laws and state projects listed earlier, the Russian Federation selects several trends in the development of e-government and plans to achieve the following indicators by 2024[3]:

  • organization of interaction between the state, society and business, mainly based on digital technologies;
  • an increase in the level of development of postal services, providing the opportunity for citizens to receive new services using postal services;
  • ensuring economic growth by minimizing the human factor, standardizing management processes, and reducing transaction costs;
  • providing the opportunity to receive all basic legal services in electronic form;
  • providing broadband Internet access and access to quality communication services for at least 95% of citizens in order to prevent information isolation of certain groups of citizens;
  • achieving a level of information security at which all personal data of citizens will be inviolable, in order to respect the human right to privacy and family secrets and others. At the same time, the state should not only provide the majority of public services in electronic form, but also create an effective feedback system with the citizen to assess the relevance of the services provided;
  • reducing the influence of the geographical position of a citizen on the possibility of obtaining a particular service. This is especially important in the context of Russian realities, when the remoteness of a large settlement, where the place where you can get a document or service, is located at a considerable distance from the citizen's place of residence.

Financing for the implementation of the "Information Society" program at the expense of the state budget is increasing every year. For example, in 2011 the amount of the state budget allocated for the implementation of the program amounted to 113.4 billion rubles, in 2019 it was already 216.9 billion rubles, and in 2024 it is planned to allocate 267.3 billion rubles[3]. On the one hand, this is due to inflation, and on the other hand, the rising cost of innovative digital technologies.

Over the past 7 years in Russia there have been several significant achievements in the development of e-government, a report on this has been published on the website of the Russian government (www.government.ru). Among these achievements, the following are listed:

  • replacement of paper notifications and letters with electronic ones that have equivalent legal significance. The advantage of this decision is observed both for the state, as it has become easier to close debts, and for citizens who, since 2017, have received the opportunity to provide a 50% discount when paying a fine in advance;
  • citizens should no longer provide information to public authorities if information about them is contained in the disposal of other public authorities and local governments. Only documents contained in the personal custody of a citizen are subject to exclusion;
  • in 2016, a similar ban was established on the requirement of a certain list of documents (it includes more than 180 documents, for example, extracting information from the Unified State Register of Taxpayers) from legal entities on the part of the state during inspections. Documents can only be requested in electronic form through a system of interagency electronic interaction;
  • currently, more than 400 government services have been converted to electronic format and can be provided using e-government;
  • the total number of transactions in a single system of interagency electronic interaction, which is used for interaction between authorities in the performance of state and municipal services, amounted to 20.2 billion in 2017[4].

Thus, we understand that the main focus in the implementation of the Electronic Russia 2002-2010 program was precisely the conversion of all services into electronic form, while the Information Society program is aimed at attracting citizens to use public services and popularizing the electronic system government. By 2018, about 70% of all public services began to be provided in electronic form, but this figure needs to be increased. Currently, the so-called roadmaps for the most popular federal, regional and municipal services are being developed. For them, later, uniform formats for registration, filing an application, payment, informing about the results of the service will be developed and the opportunity to appeal the decision will also be given.

Conclusion

E-government is a new area of state administration and that is why its legal regulation becomes difficult. The activities of e-government cannot be regulated by a single legal act, since it is in constant development. A more effective solution to this problem is the creation of e-government development projects, concepts, as well as road maps, according to which its work will be organized. The creation of the above documents should be carried out taking into account the characteristics of citizens of Russia, their willingness to use information and telecommunication technologies in cooperation with the state, as well as the technical potential of the state itself.

Nowadays, our country has all the necessary prerequisites for creating an effective e-government that will work for the benefit of society and business, help them solve certain issues with the help of the state apparatus. However, it is necessary to increase the level of technical support for the regions so that all citizens are reached by access to the global Internet to ensure informational equality of citizens. Undoubtedly, in the near future the influence of information and communication technologies in all spheres of our life will only increase, therefore e-government in Russia needs to be developed, because it is a necessary part of building a modern democratic state, where all relevant information is presented to citizens, which gives an idea of ​​the real situation things in the state, and the structure of work of public authorities is transparent.

List of references

  1. Akopov G.L. Information law: textbook. allowance. Rostov n / a: Phoenix, 2008.;
  2. Holmes, D. eGov. E-business strategies for the state / D.Holmes, trans. from English A.V.Korotkova. M.: Astrel; AST, 2004.;
  3. Kashina E.A. Formation of e-government in the Russian Federation: socio-political aspect. - M., 2009;
  4. Tselishcheva E.F. From e-government to e-state // EGO: Economics. State. Society. - 2011. - No. 2(6).;

[1] Portal of public services of the Russian Federation - Electronic resource [URL: https://www.gosuslugi.ru];

[2] On the federal target program “Electronic Russia (2002-2010): Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of January 28, 2002 No.65.;

[3] On approval of the state program of the Russian Federation “Information Society (2011-2020)”: Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No.313.;

[4] Ministry of Digital Development, Telecommunications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation - Electronic resource, [URL: https://digital.gov.ru/ru/activity/programs/1/#section-targets].