We often report on PB internationally, but until now there seems to have been little awareness of PB in one of the largest countries in the world. However it seems times are changing.
We increasingly pick up items from Russia such as an interview with Ilya Sokolov, director of the Budget Policy Department at Russia’s Ministry of Finance, published the Global Government Forum website. Some excerpts from the article include:
"Ilya Sokolov is in charge of setting Russia’s budget policy, managing budget legislation – including the budget code – and promoting budgetary transparency and literacy… Here, we pick out three aspects of Sokolov’s work: balancing the budget; improving transparency; and developing ‘participatory budgeting’.
…. At the federal level of spending, people’s input through the Joint Budget System Portal is limited to giving feedback on decisions that have already been taken; but citizens are being brought into spending decisions at the local level, Sokolov explains. Six Russian regions have already adopted a World Bank initiative called ‘participatory budgeting’, which gives people the opportunity to vote for their favourite projects to win funding – and, if they wish, to contribute money to them. Local authorities store each contribution in a separate account, and their money is released under public supervision to finance projects selected by a majority of of votes, Sokolov explains.
These participatory budgeting schemes began as pilots around seven years ago. Successful projects have included improvement work to roads and water supply systems, according to World Bank data, but by far the most popular schemes are cultural centres and landscaping work. So far, more than 1,200 projects have been carried out in Russia in this way, and the World Bank estimates that they’ve benefited more than 1m people. On average, Sokolov says, the funding contributed by the community makes up between 5% and 15% of the total cost.
The system “really involves people in the decision-making process,” comments Sokolov. “If you give money towards something, you are really going to care about it.”
- Read the full interview