Active Citizen: A dialogue between the city and its residents

October 4, 2020
Social sector

What is Active Citizen?

The Active Citizen project is a website designed for those who want to help improve their city. One of its main goals is to find out what Muscovites think about major issues that concern the development of the Russian capital.

Every week the website launches new polls on how to improve city streets, what hobby groups to open and how to improve the performance of libraries or outpatient clinics. None of these issues require professional knowledge. Users can read a brief description of the background information and learn what experts think about various issues.

Active Citizen went online in 2014. In six years it has become a convenient and accessible way to vote. It allows city residents to express their opinion on important urban issues and influence the solution. Users can vote via the mobile app or on the website

What issues have Muscovites helped solve?

Active Citizen users supported commuter railway development between the Moscow Region and central Moscow (the Moscow Central Diameters), selected landscaping projects for city parks and the interior designs for new metro stations, to name a few.

Users can vote to select best doctors, specialist doctors, best construction projects and much more.

Following the vote on the Million Trees programme, trees and bushes were planted in almost 9,600 courtyards. In addition, Muscovites have chosen the design for eight new metro stations and approved 48 projects on beautification under the My Street programme.

The results of the polls are published on the project’s website at Voters can sign up for a newsletter with the results of Active Citizen polls.

How does the voting take place?

Only polls on general city questions were held when the project was launched in 2014. Later, polls were created on issues that concerned specific groups, for instance, based on district or age.

Active Citizen continues working to enhance the security and transparency of polls. Voters can follow the further discussion of an issue online. They can access the detailed statistics on each vote and check its credibility by reviewing anonymised data. To make the service more secure, Active Citizen uses blockchain technology. It was the first IT project under the Moscow Government to introduce this security technology.

What do the results influence?

Active Citizen conducts votes on general urban issues and matters that concern individual districts, streets and even courtyards. Users can choose an option they like and their vote is counted. The project that receives the majority of votes will be carried out.

During its six years online, Active Citizen has held votes on over 4,600 issues and implemented more than 3,500 ideas chosen by the public. Every month the city carries out 30 to 40 polls, or more than one every day.

Active Citizen has helped the city collect over 147 million opinions. It would have taken 72 years to receive feedback on this scale through traditional means of communication.

Yulia Ivanko,

Do other countries have similar projects?

Active Citizen is a unique project in terms of coverage and the amount of issues put up for a vote. Currently, over 4.6 million people are registered on the website.

A pilot poll using blockchain technology created quite a stir in Europe. In November 2017, the Swiss city of Zug tested a new digital ID system (eID) that allows users to vote using their mobile devices. In all, 72 people out of 240 users who had access to the system took part in the voting.

Moscow’s Active Citizen project has received 12 international and national awards, including the following:

— Best mobile app for the public sector (CNews AppWARDS 2014);

— SABRE Awards EMEA 2015, an international PR prize, for the best project for government agencies (London);

— Best m-Government Service Award (United Arab Emirates Government), for the best foreign app in the social sphere.

Why are Muscovites interested in voting?

Muscovites take an active part in polls because they understand that their opinion will be considered. In addition, they receive loyalty points for voting. These points can be spent on useful municipal services or souvenirs: travel cards, parking hours, tickets to parks, theatres and museums, t-shirts, memory sticks and umbrellas, to name a few.

How do you join Active Citizen?

Users wishing to register on the Active Citizen website need to create an account on the website. Voters can use the Active Citizen website or the mobile app (the app can be downloaded free from Google Play or App Store).

Participants can fill out information on their profiles to receive polls on the issues specifically important to them or related to their area of residence. Participants get 20 points for every citywide vote and 10 points for voting on district-level issues. They can earn extra three points for spending a bit more time to evaluate city innovation. Additional points are given for regular visits to the website or the mobile app, referring new users, and posting on social media.


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