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Let me explain in simpler language what e-solutions mean in Estonia and how they help people, using one personal example.

A few days ago, Estonian Police informed us, online, through an automatically generated message that our residence permits and ID cards expire. The message was addressed through my mandatory e-mail address, issued by the authorities to each resident of Estonia, including my small child.

From home we filled out an online form (about 7 minutes for all 3 members of my family), paid online the state fee for issuing the ID cards for all 3 in a single transfer (lower price if you complete an online ID than you would go to the police service center)- 1 minute, I took the photos for all 3 family members, including myself (this took a little longer because my son was too happy in the photos :)), we signed by hand on a piece of paper and photographed the signature with my phone (+1 minute ). …

Why existing e-Governance solutions in Eastern European countries are used by a very small number of citizens?

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This year I participated in a number of e-Governance events in various Eastern European countries (Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania) and in discussions with local e-gov implementers, officials and active people I tried to understand why apparently very promising e-gov solutions are used by such a small number of people? Here are my first 10 answers to this complex question. We will further develop the topic and invite you to contribute too.

  1. Lack of leadership. If a minister does not sign digitally and demand it from subordinates, no one will do so at a lower level or in rural areas. Money and technology are not a problem. For example, the Moldovan Parliament has the electronic voting system from 2003, Chisinau City Hall — from 2016. …

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People have always voted. Because it is difficult to make decisions that influence a community life without being able to accurately quantify the preferences of the members of these communities. In ancient Greece, citizens used pieces of broken pottery to scratch in the name of the candidate in the procedures of ostracism (exclusion for a period of 10 years). As many as 6,000 votes were needed to exclude an individual. The same procedure and number of votes were applied to potential new citizens. In ancient India, palm leaves were used for ‘municipal’ elections. The palm leaves with candidate names were put inside a mud for counting. The ballot term comes from the word ‘ballotta’, which actually means a small ball for voting, used in the polling system of the Doge of Venice (since 697 AD). …

Diplomacy, the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of states is changing slowly but surely, including the ways of communication between the parts.

In 1274 BC, the pharaon of Egypt and the ruler of the Hittite Empire created the first known international treaty which survived in stone tablet fragments. Diplomatic correspondence written on clay tablets, known as Amarna letters, were used in Egypt, using Akkadian — the specific regional language of diplomacy. Later, diplomatic messages signed on paper were carried by envoys during their long trips to foreign countries, encrypted messages were send through submarine communications cables and now the use of secured internet-based exchange of diplomatic data is widespread. …


Victor Guzun

International negotiations lecturer. Managing partner at

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