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Third of all Russians now use internet

Little Russian Girl at Computer Next to GlobeMoscow, 20 December: About a third of the population of the country, 46.5m people, use the internet today, which is about double the figure for 2008, deputy executive director of the Regional Public Centre of Internet Technologies (RPCIT) Sergey Grebennikov has said.

"There are 46.5m users of the Russian (segment of the) internet. This is about one-third of the population of our country. It really is a very good figure, because just a few years ago we said that the number of internet users was 20-25m," Grebennikov told a roundtable meeting at the State Duma on Monday (20 December) to review the results of the year in Runet (Russian segment of the internet).

He said the figures came from the Public Opinion Foundation, and the comparison was with 2008.

Grebennikov noted that 32m people in Russia go online every day. "Two years ago we gave the figure of 10m users a day. It has now tripled," the RPCIT deputy director noted.

Moreover, in Moscow 58 per cent of the population use the internet, and in St Petersburg the figure is 1 per cent higher, at 59 per cent. More than half the population of Moscow Region, Murmansk Region, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area and Yakutia are internet users too.

"The number of users of mobile internet is growing all the time," Grebennikov noted. Of the 46.5m people, 8 per cent use the mobile phone to go on the worldwide web.

He also said that the interest in blogs, which had been spreading fast before, was now ebbing.

"There are 30m blogs on the Russian internet. However, only 10 per cent of them are active," Grebennikov said. (Passage omitted) He said that experts discovered a trend when users did not want to create their own content but wanted to be in an environment where content already existed.

At the same time participants in the roundtable discussion noted that active "cooperation" between professional media outlets and blogs had been observed in Runet this year. "The mass media no longer shy away from quoting bloggers' publications or using the information published online by ordinary users," internet expert Anton Merkurov said.

Spokesman for the registrar RU-CENTER Andrey Vorobyev said that for the registrars, one of the main events of the year had been the failure of passportization. Domain name owners were supposed to provide copies of their passports to registrars. This would have made it possible, for example, to prevent the theft of domain names. "In reality, it turned out that many owners send in forged copies. This does not help identify the person who actually owns the domain," Vorobyev said. The procedure is expected to the abolished in 2011.

(Reporting on the same roundtable discussion, Russian state news agency ITAR-TASS said that over 500,000 Russians had accounts in the microblog service Twitter at the end of the year, compared with 180,000 in January. Some, including President Dmitriy Medvedev, even have several accounts. "For the first time we have a feedback mechanism operating in the country, and it is used, above all, by the holder of the top position in the state, so in this respect it has been a breakthrough year," member of the State Duma Committee for Information Policy, Technologies and Communications Ilya Ponomarev was quoted as saying.

Among other important events, the report mentioned the state services portal, which became fully operational on 1 April, contains information about 470 services, and has 250,000 registered users; the launch of the Cyrillic .rf top-level domain, which currently has nearly 680,000 registered domain names; and the 20-per-cent increase in online trade to R150bn, or 46.8m dollars, a year.)

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