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MOSCOW, September 30. (RIA Novosti) - Over 1,000 periodicals are officially registered in the Russian Internet, said Mikhail Seslavinsky, head of the Federal Press and Mass Communications Agency.

"1,259 information editions are registered in the Russian Internet that have committed to abiding by the law on mass media. Other sites exist beyond this law," he said.

At the same time, he does not agree that every individual must register his or her website as a mass medium. "This is absurd," he said.

Today the Internet is the only place where one can openly publish one's creative ideas and opinions and to make them available for the whole world, Seslavinsky said.

At present the Russian segment of the Internet, the Runet, has from 12 to 14.6 million users, he pointed out.

"Two thirds of the Runet's target audience have a higher education, their average age is 28-30. The Runet now has over 200,000 registered domain names, which, I believe, is a convincing figure," the official said.

According to him, the situation with registered websites is similar in developed European countries, such as Austria, Belgium and Poland.

"Yet, compared to leaders, Russia is lagging behind Germany, which has about 7 million registered domain names, and Great Britain, which has some 4 million domain names and an annual increase of 50 percent," he added.

At the same time, the Runet receives new registered users at a very high pace, especially in the economic sphere.

"Today no market, no large mass media company can exist without the Runet. The Agency believes that it is better to support all positive projects in the Runet than to prohibit them. As an active Internet user, I can say that no mass media can now provide a site for exchange of opinions as large as the Internet can," he said.

According to Seslavinsky, the Agency finances over 10 Russian websites, including Gramota.ru, Izvestia.ru, Agentstvo Sotsialnoi Informatsii.ru and Net Narkotikam.ru.