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The Democratic Illusion through the Technological Illusion: a Case Study of the Implementation of a Blockchain to Support an E-voting Platform in Moscow (Active Citizen)

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Hugo Estecahandy

Abstract

From 1 to 4 July 2022, Muscovites were called upon to vote electronically for the location of the "Luhansk People's Republic" park in the capital. The vote was carried out via the online platform Active Citizen, a project of the Moscow City Hall that allows citizens to vote for or against urban development projects concerning the municipality. In this case, the vote did not ask Muscovites to choose between several names for a particular park, but rather to choose which of three proposed areas of the capital would be given a name that would resonate with current events in the country. Indeed, one of the reasons invoked by Russia to justify the invasion of Ukraine by its army, from 24 February 2022, is the protection and liberation of Donbass, a region in the east of Ukraine, notably composed of the People's Republic of Luhansk and the People's Republic of Donetsk. These Russian-speaking territories, separatists from Ukraine since 2014, were officially recognised by Russia the day after the surprise attack, and are at the center of the Kremlin's war communication to justify its attack, both to the international community and to its own population. Thus, it is a name laden with heavy political symbolism that Muscovites can assign to a piece of their city. The location of the three proposed territories was indicated by geographical markers, mostly the mention of adjacent streets, and were mostly enriched by specific details, indicated in brackets. Thus, among the nearly 110,000 voters, 56.85% chose the plot "close to the British embassy", while 13.78% opted for a location "between the Lithuanian and Belgian embassies", 10.64% for a territory "close to the German consulate", while 18.73% relied on "the decision of specialists". While voters represented only 5% of Active Citizen registrants (about 2.2 million in total) and less than 1% of the city's total population (about 12.5 million), it is interesting to note that this highly political decision on urban planning was done using an electronic voting platform.
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halshs-03922725 , version 1 (04-01-2023)

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  • HAL Id : halshs-03922725 , version 1

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Hugo Estecahandy. The Democratic Illusion through the Technological Illusion: a Case Study of the Implementation of a Blockchain to Support an E-voting Platform in Moscow (Active Citizen). 2023. ⟨halshs-03922725⟩
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