Russian e-Petitions Portal: Exploring Regional Variance in Use
The paper presents the results of research on factors explaining the level of e-petitioning in Russian regions. The main goal is to reveal socio-economic, technological and institutional problems the regions face, and hence to embed the Russian case into the broad research agenda on online engagement. We concentrate on the federal e-petitions portal – Russian Public Initiative – and use the automated monitoring system to analyse subnational dynamics of online petitions submissions and voting on the aggregate level. The data are used to quantitatively assess the drivers and obstacles for e-participation. Our findings suggest that more active e-petition portal usage in regions is associated with higher socio-economic and technological development, as well as with democratic institutions and better e-government policy. One of the main obstacles to active use of the portal is its institutional design that at the moment provides regions with different opportunities and reinforces participation divides. Future steps, implications for automated monitoring system and some policy recommendations are also discussed.