Internet to cover entire Russia
The ComScore, an Internet marketing research company says that 47 million Russians spend over 22 hours a month on the Internet. In Europe, Russia is second to Germany that records 23.5 hours a month and has 50 million Internet-users.
The use of the Internet in Russia is gaining momentum. For one, people in the remote regions started using the Dial-Up link some ten years ago but at present, they are actively talking about the e-government and its advantages. In short, the Internet has become an integral part of life in Russia, like the cellular telephones 5 or 7 years ago. Several factors have promoted this trend, says Anton Korobkov-Zemlyansky, a journalist who is actively involved in the Runet:
“The internet started to grow in Russia like an avalanche. In the 90s when many countries started introducing their e-governments and developed Internet-shops, Russia was making the first steps towards the Internet. The situation changed radically with the introduction of the social networks, especially the “Odnoklassniki” and the “Vkontakte” that attracted those who were not using the Internet before. At present, President Dmitry Medvedev is actively encouraging people to use the Internet and promoting e-government and government services which are offered by the Internet. One can get a passport for foreign travels or a driving license through the Internet, and this is attracting a growing number of people,” says Anton Korobkov-Zemlyansky.
However, Russia is lagging far behind other countries in the number of active Internet-users. In Russia, such people are one third of the population, while in Germany – two thirds. However, the situation will radically change in the near future owing to the policy pursued by the Russian government, says Anton Korobkov-Zemlyansky:
“Firstly, the Internet for children will be developed because the federal government is allocating money to computerize all Russian schools. Secondly, government services that are offered through the Internet will grow since the President has set the task of doing significant amount of work to introduce a universal e-card by the end of the year. This card will replace local passports, the Taxpayer Identification Number and the pension certificate. This will pave the way for placing an order for government services through the Internet or offline,” Anton Korobkov-Zemlyansky said.
The pending election campaign will help to spread the use of the Internet further. Politicians and public figures believe the future is on the Internet rather than the traditional mass media. According to the expert, forthcoming parliamentary and presidential election battles will start on the Internet. This will be another important factor that will rapidly increase the number of Russians using the Internet.