Online Skills Are 'Gateway to Democracy', Says Russian President

21 July 2008

PETROZAVODSK: Recently appointed Russian president Dmitry Medvedev (pictured) on Friday enthusiastically rooted for the encouragement of modern information technology among the nation's citizens.

His public enthusiasm is seen by Kremlin-watchers as an order to ministers and bureaucrats to improve voters' online access to government departments.

Medvedev told a State Council meeting in the Karelian city of Petrozavodsk: "Free access to information for our citizens is one of the key benchmarks of the democratic process."

The inability of ordinary people to gain access to the government or receive official information is a big problem, opined Medvedev. Moreover, its solution "would naturally contribute to fighting corruption".

He pointed an accusing finger at computer illiteracy, which is endemic among Russian citizens and officials. "An official who does not have elementary computer skills cannot work effectively. That means he has to look for another job."

Threatened the trendy prez: "Learn or leave!"

Data sourced from Moscow Times; additional content by WARC staff