Conference e-mail

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Anna Trakhtenberg (Institute of Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia)

Government in the Russian Federation: Construction and Reconstruction of a Workable Rhetoric of the Future

This research hypothesizes that the “e-government” as «the government of the future» is an ideological concept based on a workable rhetoric, which makes it possible both to provide a rational legitimation of public administration functioning and to solve contingent tasks using the approach described by J. Kingdon as “solutions in search of problems”. We analyze the workable rhetoric of e-government as it is presented in state strategic documents of the Russian Federation throughout 2002–2016. We use a corpus of 9 main documents (including their provisional versions), accompanied by the auxiliary expert materials. The concept of e-government came into the widespread use during “Medvedev modernization” and has since been kept on the political agenda. The last “System Project of Electronic Government” (2016) included all the latest international trends; primarily the model of proactive e-services and the concept of government-as-platform. The analysis shows that Russia e-government as «the government of the future» exists only through its constant reassessment, supplementation and supporting explanations. Its every specific configuration is determined by many factors: international trends, high-profile political decisions, mid-level client-contractor relationships, experts influence etc. To an extent that concrete configurations are included in strategic planning, we can talk about national specifics. However, as a rule, workable rhetoric downplays this specifics: officially approved documents until recently were fully customized to the world standard. The adoption of a new Strategy for the Development of the Information Society in Russia (May 2017) has changed this situation: for the first time the task was set to preserve the traditional forms of interaction between citizens and authorities. It is difficult to say how this traditionalist turnabout will affect the e-government implementation in Russia.