MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti) – The number of daily web users in Russia grew 13 percent to 50.1 million adult population over the past winter, according to a new study published this week by the state-run Public Opinion Foundation.
Forty-three percent of all grownup Russians go online every day, according to the study, which is based on a series of 20 weekly polls that covered a total of 30,000 respondents.
The number of weekly web surfers stood at about 61 million (53 percent of all Russian adults), and 64 percent, or 55 percent of all adults, use the Internet at least once a month, according to the study.
The previous study, published in December, put the number of daily Internet users at 46.8 million and monthly users at 61.1 million. The figures stood at 3 million and 7 million, respectively, in the pollster’s first study of Internet usage in Russia, released in early 2003.
The results of the study, first published on Wednesday, place Russia ahead of Brazil and China on Internet usage, which stood at 39 and 40 percent for the two countries, respectively. But Russia still lags behind powerhouses of the developed world such as the United States (78 percent), Japan (80 percent) and Australia (89 percent), the pollster said.
In 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev said that the Russian government intended to bring the number of Internet users in Russia to 90 percent over the “next several years.”
The Russian government also became active in tightening regulations of the web: A new law passed last fall allowed authorities to ban without a court order any website or page deemed to be promoting suicide, child abuse or illegal drugs. About 4,500 web resources were banned so far, more than 90 percent of them being accidental victims of imperfect blacklist techniques, according to the Pirate Party of Russia, which monitors domestic web censorship.
Sixty-three percent of Russians supported censorship of the Internet and only 19 percent oppose it, a nationwide survey by the independent Levada Center showed in September. However, the majority of the 1,600 respondents in a separate study by the same pollster in December said they were against online political censorship, unless it targeted violent nationalists or revolutionaries.