The Internet industry is rapidly developing in Russia, which is facilitated by the increase in the number of Internet users as well as the growing demand for various online services. The Russian segment of the Internet is the largest in Europe in terms of the user audience size. As far as the Internet reach, Russia came in first among other European countries and sixth in the world back in 2012. Every year the Internet in Russia is becoming more and more accessible. Therefore, the transition of to providing electronic services is a promising direction of their modernization, designed to increase their accessibility, lower corruption risks and reduce time and financial expenditures of the state and citizens.
For the first time, the transition of providing public services to an electronic form was mentioned in the federal targeted program “Electronic Russia (2002-2010)”. In 2006, the project already had a better understanding of terminology and plans for transitioning services into electronic form, and also added a link to electronic interdepartmental document flow. This approach was proposed by the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia together with the Ministry of Communications of Russia as an important element of improving the quality of providing services.
In 2008, the transition of public services into electronic form entered its most active stage and five stages of the process have been identified.
The work on transitioning services’ provision into electronic form required the elimination of legal and technological barriers. First of all, to exclude from the legislation the requirement of mandatory “paper” workflow, in 2010-2011, amendments to more than 100 federal laws were made, and a number of by-laws were adopted. Secondly, the Ministry of Communications of Russia has established an infrastructure for the interdepartmental data exchange and has organized a coordinated process for the government authorities of all levels on the transition to electronic services.
The Ministry of Economic Development of Russia has developed and put into beta testing the prototype of the information system “Consolidated Services Register”, based on which the Ministry of Communications of Russia has implemented the industrial solution “Federal Services Register” that became the operational basis for Unified portal of public services (UPPS).
Since the Unified portal of public services was launched in December 2009, it has become an effective tool for providing access to public services in electronic form. By the end of the first quarter of 2016, the number of registered users on the Unified portal of public and municipal services exceeded 25.5 million people.
Developing the system of providing public services in electronic form became one of the factors that enabled the Russian Federation to make a significant breakthrough in the UN rating of electronic government development in 2009-2012. In just two years, Russia moved 32 positions up – from 59 to 27, and among countries with a population of more than 100 million people, Russia placed third in the rating – right behind the United States (310 million, the fifth place in the UN rating) and Japan (127 million, the eighteenth place in the UN rating). According to the 2014 version of the same UN rating, Russia maintained its previous position (27th place).
In July 2013 the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia proposed a new approach to the transition of service provision into electronic form, because the phased out transition model turned out too formalized and didn’t take into account the specifics of individual services, thus precluding the authorities from effectively transitioning them into electronic format.
It was suggested to choose a modular system that is more flexible and allows for the transition into electronic form of individual administrative procedures.
In December 2013, the Concept for developing mechanisms for public and municipal services’ provision in electronic form was approved. Developed by the Ministry of Communications of Russia in conjunction with the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, the Concept has defined the main goals, principles and directions for the further development of electronic services through 2016. The action plan for its implementation was approved (The Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 991-r of June 9, 2014).
The Concept identified 15 priority federal and 20 regional services to be optimized first. As of May 25, 2017, the list of regional services includes 18 services (The Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 1027-r of May 25, 2017).
Within the framework of this optimization, each of the 35 priority services has corresponding implementation plans and schedules.
To further develop the system of providing public and municipal services in electronic form, the Government of the Russian Federation (Resolution No. 236 of March 26, 2016) approved the requirements for the provision of public and municipal services in electronic form. In this document, the “modular principle” of transitioning services’ provision into electronic form, as previously proposed by the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, was permeated.
In accordance with the provisions of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia’s Requirements, work has been carried out to determine the target model for the provision of all federal public services in electronic form. Based on the results of this work, on March 3, 2017 the meeting of the Subcommittee on the use of information technology in the provision of public and municipal services of the Government Commission on the use of information technology for improving the quality of life and business conditions approved a consolidated matrix of actions, the fulfillment of which is guaranteed for an applicant when obtaining public services in electronic form (protocol of March 3, 2017 No. 94-pr). At the moment, the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, in accordance with the Subcommittee’s assignment, continues maintaining the consolidated matrix on a regular basis.