Natalia Sergunina, Deputy Mayor, Moscow City Government, Moscow
How do you use technology / politics to improve the lives of citizens? Tell us about your role or the organization you work for.
I have been working for the Moscow city government for over 10 years. Currently I hold the post of Deputy Mayor – Chief of Staff to the Mayor and Government of Moscow. My area of responsibility includes many issues related to modern technology – from the implementation of advanced solutions in various fields to the formation of conditions for the development of startups and technological entrepreneurship.
Any technology implemented in Moscow is not for the technology itself, but to make life in the metropolis as comfortable as possible. Technological and digital transformation is centered above all on the resident.
This year, Moscow’s digital ecosystem celebrated its 10th anniversary. In 2011, we launched our first electronic service. Now, more than 380 useful digital services are already helping citizens in their daily activities. You can use them to make a doctor’s appointment or for a vaccination, to enroll your child in a creative circle or sports section, or to apply for a corporate grant.
The website mos.ru, the official portal of the mayor and government of Moscow, which accumulates online services, has 14.4 million registered users.
Almost all everyday problems can be solved online. Unnecessary trips to establishments and the receipt and transfer of paper certificates are a thing of the past: they are replaced with just a few clicks. The city has become as human-centric as it can get, moving from a bureaucrat to an ever-present assistant available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What has been the most significant project you have worked on this year?
I would like to highlight the certification of Moscow according to the international standards ISO 37120 “Sustainable communities – indicators of urban services and quality of life” and ISO 37122 “Sustainable cities and communities – indicators for smart cities”.
We received the certificates this spring. But it should be noted that the city’s sustainable development indicators, which were assessed by experts, are the result of many years of work by the entire Moscow government team, headed by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
In addition, the ISO 37122 standard was approved quite recently, and the Russian capital was one of the first 10 cities in the world to pass the certification. ISO 37122 indicators reflect the effectiveness of using technological solutions in all sectors to improve the quality of life.
There are 80 parameters, including the demonstration of the implementation of technology in critical areas such as urban planning, economics, health, education and others.
What is particularly important: the experts assessed the most applicable indicators. They reflect the state of affairs in these areas, which citizens are confronted with on a daily basis. Therefore, the receipt of ISO certificates proves that Moscow is really efficient in using smart solutions to improve the quality of life. It is this principle – technology for the good of the people – that is at the heart of the development of the capital.
What is the main finding or finding that you took away from 2021?
2021, like the entire pandemic period, has once again shown that today we are laying the foundations for development for the years to come. The urban programs that we started to implement in Moscow many years ago are now playing an important role.
In large part thanks to our foundations for the future in previous years, our city confidently faces the challenges of Covid-19. Almost all of the solutions we apply to tackle the spread of the coronavirus are based on existing projects. The medical sector, the economy, education and culture – all fields have shown their resilience and reliability.
Here’s an example: Moscow has long focused on digitization and the development of communications infrastructure. In 2011, residents had used the city’s electronic services only 57,000 times. By the end of 2020, that number had passed 400 million. Muscovites themselves, the business community, cultural and educational institutions have long accepted online solutions in everyday life.
Electronic government services, telemedicine, online courses in schools and universities, virtual tours of museums, the distance purchase of meals in restaurants, grocery stores and all other goods are common for Muscovites. The accelerated reorientation of many spheres to the online format because of the coronavirus has not been painful, there has been no leap. The transition was smooth.
For the convenience of citizens, we have implemented additional features, such as online registration for Covid-19 vaccination and electronic application for anti-coronavirus grants and business support measures.
What are your priorities for 2022 and beyond?
Our priority remains unchanged and does not even depend on factors such as the coronavirus pandemic. As Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin always emphasizes, the aim of every program we implement is to further improve the quality of the urban environment and the standard of living of Muscovites.
The prospects for Moscow’s development as a smart city are inextricably linked with the introduction of technologies – artificial intelligence, blockchain, big data analytics. AI-based solutions are already used in one in six city projects. We will continue to develop this experience.
We also plan to create new superservices. It is not a separate digital service, but a collection of electronic services grouped together for different life situations. For example, when a child is born, a digital assistant will notify parents of payments and benefits due, help them apply, and offer to reattach a child to the children’s polyclinic.
Another goal is the proactive provision of public services without unnecessary demands and the need to submit the same documents. Let’s say a person receives a certain service every year. He won’t have to apply every year and wait for his exam: the system will do everything automatically.
If you sum up everything that has already been said, any management decision in Moscow is based on analytical and technological capabilities. They help regulate the flow of traffic, build the metro and new schools, improve the infrastructure of certain neighborhoods and the city as a whole.
The old business models simply don’t work in large megalopolises, where millions of people move and interact on a daily basis, used to living at high speed and receiving high quality services very quickly.
Which heroes or mentors inspire you?
I am inspired by the dedication, holistic approach and experience of my immediate supervisor, Sergei Sobyanin. Thanks to him, Moscow has radically changed – it has become modern, progressive and really smart. Attractive to live, to create a family, to flourish and to achieve professionally.
Today’s Moscow also attracts millions of travelers. Muscovites are very welcoming, tourists are always welcome.
I am also inspired by the mayor’s team. I am happy to be a member. It is a team of like-minded people, very responsible and energetic specialists. They are real professionals. I am grateful to the mayor of Moscow for the opportunity to participate in large-scale programs, including international ones, which contribute to the development of my hometown and benefit Muscovites.