Russian Internet, by the Wretched Humiliating Numbers

Russia is #9 in among nations when ranked for population size.

But it is #56 when ranked for usage of the Internet. A shocking 47 countries in the world have smaller total populations than Russia but more extensive usage of the Internet.  Business usage of the Internet in Russia is a truly stunning world #95.

Looking further at the Runet, the picture gets even darker.

Russia ranks #90 for business innovation, #107 for growth of e-business, #108 for regulatory framework and #125 for intellectual property protection.

In fact, the only reason Russia ranks as high as it does, #54 for overall network readiness, is simply that Russia has a vast number of mobile users and improving broadband access for them. But the reason for this is that Russia’s land-line infrastructure is so utterly wretched that people have no choice but to opt for mobile phones. A tiny mobile phone is far from being the best way to fully access the wonders and power of global connectivity.

Costa Rica, Kazakhstan and Oman all rank higher than Russia does for overall network readiness.

Nobody can be surprised by this woeful performance given Russia’s draconian, neo-Soviet crackdown on the Runet. The Putin dictatorship relentlessly attacks online freedom, shutting down websites and prosecuting bloggers with impunity.  For this reason, Russia will continue to languish as a backwards country, cut off from the progress of modernity and from the flow of information that is crucial to global competitiveness.

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Exploding the Myth of Russia’s Internet

Once again, data has confirmed that two-thirds of the people of Russia have absolutely no access to the Internet and never access it.

Those who do manage to access the Runet, moreover, use it for nothing more than socializing, and even that they do at a rate well below the European average.

What this means is really quite simple:  Those who tell you that it doesn’t matter that Russians have no real TV news, because all sources of it are owned and operated by the Kremlin, and no real newspapers, because the same situation prevails, because Russians have ready access to the Internet to make up for it, are lying to you.

There is no significant offset of the Kremlin’s propaganda on TV and in the mainstream press to be found in the Internet.   What’s more, the obscure sources that do exist, serving a tiny fraction of the population, are under constant assault, and the Kremlin is aggressively seeking to co-opt or destroy them.

There is no hope to be found for Russia online.