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Article

Government as a platform: Intergovernmental participation for public services in the Russian Federation

Styrin E. M., Mossberger K., Zhulin A. B.

Government as a Platform (GaaP) has been advocated in multiple countries, and most research has concentrated on collaboration at the national level. In the Russian Federation, universal participation of regional and municipal authorities on the public services platform Gosuslugi.ru. is a priority intended to address regional disparities as well as greater efficiency. Russia serves as a case study to explore the extent to which it possible to use platforms for intergovernmental management - to effectively integrate all regions on a single platform, despite wide differences in capabilities and needs. We examine the case of Gosuslugi.ru through the technology enactment framework (Fountain, 2001). While the literature on platforms emphasizes loose coordination or orchestration, the technology enactment framework suggests that in systems with a high degree of centralization, such as Russia, platforms will be more centralized and top-down. We show the problems a highly centralized approach creates for implementation in the context of wide disparities, but the modularity and adaptability of platforms may also allow for more decentralization through choice and varied levels of participation. An open question is whether such flexibility will be allowed going forward. The technology enactment framework has been used primarily to analyze microlevel behavior within organizations. Considering macro-level institutions such as federalism can enhance use of the technology enactment framework across countries, and this case may have implications for intergovernmental participation on platforms in other nations.