In March 2017, the Russian Ministry of Communications promoted a draft law to change the procedure for issuing reinforced qualified electronic signature (RQES) certificates. The proposed law would move the issuance of certificates from private companies to the state. However, the Ministry of Economic Development opposes the bill, stating that it would lead to significant budget expenditures and increased risks that could adversely affect the development of the market for issuing qualified certificates, electronic signature verification keys and other related industries. Additionally, the move from a private- to a state-run process could lead to the loss of all created infrastructure, the closure of relevant organizations and the dismissal of qualified employees at certification centers. Russia’s Central Bank also opposes the bill, stating that it may lead to a number of negative consequences for participants in the financial market, including financial losses of credit institutions due to the inability to use their own certifying centers.
RQES allows legal entities and individuals to sign documents electronically, with certificates and recognition of the e-signature issued by accredited certification bodies. It has become an indispensable tool for electronic trading and the procurement and receipt of public services in an electronic form. Currently, e-signatures are used by millions of citizens, individual entrepreneurs, companies and organizations for tasks such as accessing remote bank accounts and submitting reports to the Federal Tax Service.