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Article

Why do nondemocratic regimes promote e‐participation? The case of Moscow's active citizen online voting platform

Schlaufer C.

Citizen online participation has become an increasingly important feature of policymaking in nondemocratic regimes. This article explores the question of why nondemocratic governments promote e‐participation tools. To address this question, this research examines the motives for the introduction of the Active Citizen e‐voting platform in Moscow through an in‐depth case study drawing on interviews and qualitative document analysis. The case study identifies a variety of objectives pursued by the Moscow city government with the promotion of e‐participation and relates them to three legitimation strategies, namely, input‐based legitimation, output‐based legitimation and discourse‐based legitimation. The results underscore how controlled e‐participation may combine different legitimation strategies without challenging the distribution of decision‐making power.