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Costly Upgrade for State Tender Site

A state tender to update the web site for state tenders, launched last week, priced the work almost four times more than annual budget for Wikipedia, one of the world's biggest and busiest web domains.

The tender for Zakupki.gov.ru includes new software and a set of 70 servers and has a price tag of 778 million rubles ($26 million).

The web site was opened in 2006 and has had incessant problems since, despite annual updates, the latest of which wrapped up in January and cost 360 million rubles. That has not stopped occasional crashes and page loading failures, Izvestia reported  Monday, citing an unidentified government official.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia, which has millions of constantly edited pages, often with complex multimedia content, and is ranked the seventh-most popular web site in the world by Alexa.com, operates on a budget of $7 million a year, Izvestia said.

Officials did not comment on the upgrade costs for Zakupki.gov.ru. State tenders are a notoriously graft-prone area, with up to 1 trillion rubles embezzled annually, according to Kremlin estimates.

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