The Russian President's website offers an email link, presumably to enable citizens to email the President.

Was this was a genuine attempt at a more accessible government? Or simply an unthinking use of technology? We can set up an email link, so we will. Other governments have email links, so we will too so as not to appear to have fallen behind.

Then a little girl emailed the President asking for a guinea pig.

"...within hours, government officials arrived at Nastya's village school in Kalitvensky, southern Russia, to tell her off. They warned her never to contact the President again, and also called in her parents, rebuking them for allowing her to "disturb the President". Fox report that Nastya was also "forced" to write a public letter retracting her request!"

My cynicism is thus vindicated. Pathetic but true. And very funny how our true intentions and beliefs always come across in our actions. Regardless of any fa├žade engineering.

Read the full story: The Russian president, the guinea pigs and the school girl on Times Online.