#7 - JRL 7069 - RAS 16
SOCIETY: HOW MANY RUSSIANS USE THE INTERNET?
SOURCE. Internet i rossiiskoe obshchestvo [The Internet and Russian Society]. Moscow Carnegie Center, August 2002. Chapter by Yuri Perfilev ("Territorial Organization of the Russian Internet-Space")
As of mid-2001 the maximum number of internet users in Russia was estimated at 12.8 million or 8.7 percent of the population. However, 27 percent of users, and nearly 40 percent of the most active and regular users, lived in Moscow or St. Petersburg (at end of 2000). In these cities users constitute about one fifth of the population, in the rest of the country more like one twentieth.
The Russian internet has now been in existence for ten years. Up to the mid-1990s, it was limited mainly to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the "science cities." By 1997-98 it had spread to other large cities (with populations of one million and above). Only now is use increasing in smaller cities (population 50-100,000). Most of the growth in recent years has been in the number of occasional users (i.e., less than once a week).
Hardly any internet users live in rural areas. The most important limiting factors here are low incomes and poor telecommunications. To a lesser degree these constrain usage in urban areas too. As radical improvement is unlikely in the near future, the extent of internet usage may soon level off.