Marina Sokolova

2005-06 International Policy Fellow
Combating Open Society Threats in the former Soviet Union working group


During the past few years, most government agencies in Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania have established a public face online, and developed eGov related programs. But many decision-makers and researchers still concentrate one-sidedly on the provision of electronic services and not their uses, and these actors generally regard society's participation in developing e-governance as unnecessary and complicating.

The State's present emphasis on e-services and access has negative consequences for good governance if it remains focused on creating "markets of individual users" rather than on creating a collaborative and networked participatory e-government. Instead, citizen participation should become a core principle in eGov (e-government and e-governance) planning.

To achieve citizen-enhanced eGovernance, Lithuanian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian CSOs should work together through coalitions and networks advocating for a new agenda at international, regional, national and local levels with different constituencies.

This paper proposes specific mechanisms to promote citizen participation in eGov planning. It is argued that these strategies will enable civil society actors in Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine to effect a transition to collaborative or networking eGovernance and to promote democratic values and principles of civic engagement in the three countries.