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Russian Post Wants $1 Billion to Create Its Own E-mail

Russian Post proposed creating a state-sponsored electronic mail system to facilitate communication between private users and state agencies.

The state monopoly expects the government to spend 31.1 billion rubles ($1.03 billion) to finance the project, Vedomosti reported Thursday.

As follows from the two-year postal service's development program submitted to the Finance Ministry in early February, the system should provide communication for 100 million users and have at least three data centers located at least 100 kilometers from each other.

The system's offline time should not exceed five minutes per year, which many experts think would be difficult to achieve and will require significant investments, the report said.

The idea to create a state e-mail system was first announced in 2009 by then-Communications and Press Minister Igor Shchyogolev, currently serving as a presidential aide. It was later incorporated in the new bill on the postal service drafted by the Communications and Press Ministry, which emphasized the need for a "unified electronic mail system" to facilitate communication between citizens and state agencies and simplify document processing, Vedomosti said.

In November 2012, reacting to President Vladimir Putin's suggestion to introduce mandatory hearings of public petitions signed by at least 100,000 voters, Shchyogolev proposed using the system for signing and submitting public initiatives to the authorities.

A Communications and Press Ministry representative denied receiving Russian Post's development program, while the Finance Ministry declined to comment, Vedomosti said.

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