After allegations of massive vote-rigging at the legislative elections earlier this month, the Russian government is set to spend $470 million for webcams ordered by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to monitor the upcoming presidential vote and has invited the Russian public to share ideas on how to best utilize them.
The discussion kicked off Monday on the Russian website webvybory2012.ru set up by the Russian Communications and Mass Media Ministry. The ministry said in a statement published on its website Friday it would spend up to $470 million to equip some 95,000 polling stations with web cameras by March 4, 2012 when Russians vote for president. Putin, who is seeking the presidency for a third time after two terms in the Kremlin in 2000-2008, is widely seen as the top contender.
In response to opposition allegations that December parliamentary elections were rigged in favor of his ruling United Russia party, Putin said last Friday said all polling stations in Russia should be fitted with constantly-streaming webcams to make the process absolutely transparent for everyone. He said the cameras should be on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so that the whole nation could watch what was happening at any given ballot-box.
“I suggest and request that the Central Election Commission set up web cameras in all polling stations – we have more than 90,000 of those – and let them work round the clock. Let the country watch it all on the internet,” he said.
Several firms and individuals have already posted first comments concerning the technical aspect of the issue at webvybory2012.ru website as of Monday afternoon. “This will be no scheme for siphoning off budget funds, if it is done properly. This is what we all wanted. The devil is not so black as it's painted!” user Valeriy said.