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Ulyanovsk Hires Minister After Online Search

A regional government showcased its devotion to modernization last week by completing the search for a new minister online, sifting through 2,563 applications from 305 localities nationwide and even abroad.

The winner, Yelena Bashalova, 35, will trade her current job as the head of a district IT department in the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district, in West Siberia, to become IT minister of the Ulyanovsk region, located along the Volga River in central Russia, the Ulyanovsk government reported on its web site Friday.

The vacancy was published in September on, marking the first time in Russia that an official of that rank was recruited through a commercial job web site.

The 266 applicants who made it to the second round of the selection were asked to write an “analytical note on the development of the IT cluster in Ulyanovsk region,” with submissions posted on a LiveJournal blog for a public discussion that attracted some 3,000 commenters, the report said.

Thirty-seven applicants who made it to the third and final round were interviewed via Skype on their management skills and credentials, the local government said.

It remained unclear Monday whether more local officials were to be hired the same way or whether other regional governments planned to follow Ulyanovsk's lead.

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