Please read some best practice information on participatory budgeting processes in Russia provided by our EmPaci Interreg Baltic Sea Region project partner from Russia.
In Russia the development of Participatory Budgeting (PB) started in 2007 with the emergence of the first practices of citizens’ participation in decision making on budget funds spending at the local (municipal) level . First, the World Bank’s Program for Supporting Local Initiatives (PSLI) was introduced, then the “Citizen Budget” and “Citizen Initiative” programs were introduced, and in 2012 – “Participatory Budgeting” of the European University in St. Petersburg. In Russia PB activities are supported by the Ministry of Finance. Since 2018 the study of best practices in the development of Participatory Budgeting in the regions and municipalities of the Russian Federation is conducted. The results of the study are represented in the Report, prepared by the Center for Initiative Budgeting at the Financial Research Institute of the Russian Ministry of Finance with the support of the Department of Budget Methodology and Public Sector Financial Reporting .
In 2019 the Project “Empowering Participatory Budgeting in the Baltic Sea Region” (EmPaci) was launched in the North-West of Russia within the cooperation programme “Interreg Baltic Sea Region”. The EmPaci project working group conducted the overview of applying the ICT in Participatory Budgeting in the North-West of Russia.
The Table demonstrates the availability of ICT tools at the information resources of Participatory Budgeting (including portals/websites) in the North-Western Federal District of the Russian Federation at each stage of PB projects’ implementation in the region:
- Information support of the project/Informing (availability of Internet resource where citizens can get all the necessary information about the project, about the stages of its implementation, ask questions about the initiatives, learn the initiatives, grasp the dynamics of the project, etc.)
- Launching the initiatives/proposals (collecting ideas, submitting an application for participation in the project).
- Deliberation (public discussion) of the initiatives/proposals (ICT tools for expressing the opinions on initiatives) by Public Council or/and citizens.
- Selection the proposals (online voting on proposals).
- Monitoring of implementation of the proposals (public control).
The Table also presents the status of the PB practice. Regional projects are marked with the symbol “R”, municipal projects are marked by “M”. The presence or absence of the tool on the information resource is indicated, respectively, by the signs “+ “or” -“.
Table. ICT Tools for Citizens Participation on the PB Information Resources in the North-West of RussiaNotes: VK: Vkontakte – the most popular Russian social network; FB: Facebook – social network
Kaliningrad is preparing to introduce a project on Participatory Budgeting. In 2020, the city administration will conduct a competitive selection of initiative projects for the improvement of public areas, including road transport infrastructure. Call for proposals will be announced in the nearest time. The results will be summed up till April 30, 2020, after which the winning projects will start to be implemented .
At the moment, only related PB practices are registered in the Pskov Region. Preliminary events on launching the regional PB programs are planned nearest time .
CASES AND PRACTICES
The Project “Your Budget” in Saint-Petersburg
Information about the project is available on the portal of the project “Your Budget” (https://tvoybudget.spb.ru/). The question s about the project can be done in VK and Facebook groups (vk.com/tvbspb; facebook.com/tvoybudget). Work online is conducted in the corresponding group in Vkontakte. The project’s information resources contain a schedule of lectures for budget commissions in all districts and their locations. Educational events, like all other meetings of Budget Commissions, are open to everyone.
Project “I Plan a Budget” on the territory of Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad Region (http://sbor.ru/finance/bd/otkrbud/plan)
Information about the work of the Initiative Comission of the project “I Plan a Budget”, including discussion of projects proposals, is posted in the Vkontakte group “I plan a budget. Sosnovy Bor” http://vk.com/club51946917. Through the official Vkontakte group (vk.com/sbor.budget) citizens can apply for participation in the project. Information about the project and all events are represented on the official website of the city administration http://sbor.ru/finance/bd/otkrbud/plan . Leading information resources of the city are involved in promoting the project. It should be noted that online voting is taking place in the social network “Vkontakte”, in the official group of the project “I Plan a Budget” for the initiatives presented at the “Public Voting”.
In the North-Western Federal District of Russian Federation almost all the regions (except the Kaliningrad and Pskov Regions) have implemented Participatory Budgeting practices. In the Kaliningrad Region, the launch of PB projects is planned in 2020. In the Pskov Region, related practices are currently implementing; the realization of PB projects is planned in the nearest time.
In the North-West of Russia all 3 practices of Participatory Budgeting, taking place in Russia, are represented:
- Program for Supporting Local Initiatives (PSLI);
- “Public Budget” Programs;
- Participatory Budgeting (of European University in Saint Petersburg).
As for the use of modern ICT in the implementation of PB projects in the North-Western Federal District of Russian Federation, the following features can be highlighted:
During the Informing stage of PB projects the following resources were used:
- Specially designed specialized website (portal);
- Social media pages (groups): Vkontakte, Facebook, Instagram (typical for municipal practices);
- Pages on the official websites of regional authorities.
The use of the information management system in the form of a separated Internet resource (used in some other regions of Russian Federation) is not presented in the Region.
Often, the available information resources of Participatory Budgeting are used for placing the normative legal acts and reference materials or as an analogue of the media. In some cases, they are used for conducting the surveys. A characteristic feature of the implementation of PSLI in municipal practices is the predominance in the use of traditional mass media in the course of PB projects’ information support.
As for the stages of Public Discussion and Selection the proposals, ICT tools for implementing these functions are not available in most of the PB information resources, presented above. In some municipal practices, deliberation and voting on proposals take place in the appropriate groups in “Vkontakte”. In regional practices, these functions are performed by specialized Councils (or Commissions).
However, there are some examples of inappropriate use of ICT in the implementation of PB practices in the North-Western Federal District of the Russian Federation. In particular, in the Nenets Autonomous District, the use of digital tools at the submission of application stage complicates the procedure (in accordance with the Requirements for submitting an application , the applicant for a grant submits to the Department an application for participation in the competition, containing the documents required by the regulations both on paper and in electronic form. Scanned copies of printed documents are submitted electronically .
In December 2019, the monitoring of the e-participation online platforms in Russian regions was conducted by e-Governance Center of ITMO University within the project of the Russian Science Foundation. As a result of this study, the information about the activity in the sphere of the development of IT systems for Participatory Budgeting and “Open Budget” in the North- West of Russia was obtained. This information will be provided in the next issue of the newsletter.
To see the info go here: https://empaci.eu/index.php?id=31
- Vladimir Vagin: The essence of initiative budgeting is that citizens participate in the selection of projects for which budget funds should be spent [in Russian]. URL: https://otr-online.ru/programmy/ot-pervogo-litsa/vladimir-vagin-sut-23453.html (Date of Access: 07.03.2020).
- Best practices in the development of initiative budgeting in the regions and municipalities of the Russian Federation. Report. URL: https://www.oidp.net/docs/repo/doc679.pdf (Date of Access: 09.03.2020).
- Initiative budgeting-improvement together [in Russian]. URL: https://www.klgd.ru/press/news/detail.php?ID=3842062 (Date of Access: 07.03.2020).
- Belenchuk А.А., Vagin V.V. Report on Best Practice of Initiative Budgeting Development in Subjects of the Russian Federation and Municipalities (2019) [in Russian]. [Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation]. URL: https://m.minfin.ru/common/upload/library/2019/10/main/1070_Doklad.pdf (Date of Access: 08.03.2020).
- Requirements for submitting the application [in Russian]. URL: http://smi.adm-nao.ru/iniciativnoe-byudzhetirovanie/trebovaniya-k-zayavke-na-uchastie-v-konkurse/ (Date of Access: 08.03.2020).
- Department of Internal Policy of the Nenets Autonomous District [in Russian]. URL: http://smi.adm-nao.ru/iniciativnoe-byudzhetirovanie/ (Date of Access: 08.03.2020).
Andrei V. Chugunov; Vitalina A. Karachay; Dmitrii R. Trutnev (editor).