International

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Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool/AP
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev

Medvedev Tells Russian Government to Go Online or Go Home

July 21, 2008 06:01 AM
by Liz Colville
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to eliminate corruption by putting all documents online, but computer literacy among government officials is an obstacle.

30-Second Summary

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During a nationally televised meeting on July 17, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that government officials need to have good computer skills or they will be out of a job. They “either should learn or, as they say, goodbye. We don't hire people who can’t read and write. Computer literacy today is the same.”

The Associated Press, citing a 2007 report by the Internet research company comScore, writes that “Internet preparation” in Russia is “among the lowest” in Europe, “with only 12 percent of people age 15 or older online.” But that study also found that Russia’s Internet population is growing the most quickly.

Beyond the efficiency and transparency that an “electronic government” would yield, Medvedev said that “[f]ree access to information for our citizens is one of the key benchmarks of the democratic process.”

Medvedev has taken a serious interest in modern communications technology since succeeding Vladimir Putin earlier this year. He has proven to be a fluent Internet user and has even taken to watching the news online.

Headline Links: ‘Russian leader to officials: go online or lose job’

Background: Russia’s Internet-savvy president and growing Internet literacy rate

Key Player: Dmitri Medvedev

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