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Official website of the President of Russia

Transcripts   /

Beginning of Working Meeting with Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Communications Igor Shchegolev

November 9, 2009, The Kremlin, Moscow

Minister of Telecommunications and Mass Communications Igor Shchegolev: I am ready to brief you on the implementation of your instruction regarding promotion of the Russian language in the Internet address system.

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, as I recall, active discussion of this matter began a year ago, when we held the Russian Press Congress. The idea came up then about using the Cyrillic alphabet for registering domain names. So, what progress has been made since then?

Igor Shchegolev: Yes, it was indeed in the summer of 2008 that the task was set, and we immediately started active contact with ICANN [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers]. As a result by the middle of this year the procedures were more or less agreed and Russia was at the head of the line. This autumn, our basic proposals became part of a new agreement on obligations between the U.S. Department of Commerce and ICANN. ICANN held a conference in Seoul at the end of October, attended by our delegation. The conference approved a fast track procedure for new domains, and on November 16, the first day the ICANN starts accepting applications, we will submit our .рф application, and start registering new addresses as from the end of November.

Dmitry Medvedev: What benefits will this have? What new possibilities will it offer our Internet users?

Igor Shchegolev: Since we already have considerable experience working in the Internet space and with the Internet community, we held active consultations with public organisations and domain name registration centres, and we all came to the conclusion together that it would be best to start with the state bodies. What this means is that for the first few months, state bodies and owners of registered trademarks will be first to receive new – Cyrillic — addresses. This will enable us to prevent petty swindling involving grabbing hold of and then reselling domain names. We have already sent the relevant information out to the various state bodies. The first to respond was the Presidential Executive Office, which has sent a list of addresses.

Dmitry Medvedev: That’s the right approach, so that we do not end up later having to buy or something of the sort from people with no connection to the Kremlin.

Igor Shchegolev: Yes, that’s absolutely right.

Another innovative idea in this area is to set up a government e-mail system in the .рф zone for communication between the state bodies and citizens. This will make it possible to speed up provision of a whole range of electronic services in areas where an electronic signature is not an absolutely imperative thing.

Dmitry Medvedev: What address will be used? What kind of email service will this be?

Igor Shchegolev: It will be a mail service in the .рф zone where people can register a personal email account that they can use for corresponding with state bodies on matters that do not involve substantial exchange of personal data or financial requirements. It will serve as sufficient identification for most of our citizens to be able to use these basic services without having to go through the special procedure of obtaining an electronic signature.

Dmitry Medvedev: So, the introduction of Cyrillic domain names and the spread of the .рф domain will help speed up the electronic government’s development?

Igor Shchegolev: Quite right. This is exactly what we hoped for.

Dmitry Medvedev: Well, that’s a good thing.

Igor Shchegolev: There is a second matter too, following on from what we began with. We already have the World Russian Press Association. Just a few days ago we celebrated Voice of Russia radio station’s 80th anniversary. It used to have a different name and it was the station broadcasting to foreign countries. Anyway, during these celebrations the decision was taken to establish the World Russian-Language Broadcasters’ Association. Around 80 radio stations from all continents, from several dozen countries, have already signed this decision. We think this would be a good thing, all the more so as there are stations using not just traditional radio broadcasting, but broadcasting via the Internet too. As far as I know, the Russian World Congress of Compatriots Abroad also raised the issue of resuming Russian-language broadcasting in countries where it is no longer available. We think that this association could help us make swifter progress in this area.

Dmitry Medvedev: I too find this issue constantly being raised during my trips abroad. When I meet with our compatriots or with people at our embassies, they say that it would be good to revive this sort of broadcasting. But we realise that if we revive it, we have to give it a new standard. Long-wave broadcasting offers various possibilities, of course, but so does the Internet, and in countries where the Internet is developing fast it is much easier to organise broadcasting via the Internet or using other digital technology.

Igor Shchegolev: Yes, unfortunately, we are still only at the start when it comes to the Internet, FM, and developing a new digital standard.

Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, but the world is still only at the start really, because, strictly speaking, there is not any normal digital radio anywhere as yet.

Igor Shchegolev: The definitive standards have not been settled yet. We are working in the different areas, and we will keep you informed of the decisions made.

November 9, 2009, The Kremlin, Moscow