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Internet usage in Russia - statistics & facts

Russia has the eighth largest online population worldwide. With an increasing penetration rate, the Russian internet, also known as RuNet, plays a significant role in the country's society. In recent years, the population has become more connected, as the internet assisted Russians in their daily life, enabling them to pay the bills, order food or a taxi, or communicate via social media. The young generation is particularly tech-savvy, as Russian children get their own digital devices at an early age, using them to access social media platforms, video services, and games. During the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many Russians learned new online skills while adapting to remote working arrangements or distance education and increased their use of digital services.

How do Russians access the internet?

Approximately two thirds of Russian households connected to the internet via smartphones, mobile phones, electronic books, or personal digital assistants (PDAs). The country was forecast to have over 108 million mobile internet users by 2025. The 5G infrastructure is still under development, challenged by high costs and policy complications, as higher frequencies are occupied by national security authorities. The number of mobile broadband subscriptions was projected at over 135 million in 2020, which was approximately four times higher than the fixed broadband connections count.

What are the major internet companies in Russia?

A major characteristic of the Russian internet is a wide availability of the country's own online resources. The leading internet corporations are Yandex and Mail.ru Group. Both companies provide a variety of online services, such as a search engine, food delivery, mobility apps, maps, or news aggregators. Furthermore, they expanded their businesses with Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, such as smart home devices and virtual assistants. When it comes to social media, the user count of platforms like VK, or Vkontakte, Telegram, the ban on which was lifted in June 2020, and Ok.ru, or Odnoklassniki, was among the highest in the country. In the e-commerce segment, the largest online retailer was Wildberries.

Russia's sovereign internet

Freedom House ranked Russia's internet freedom at 30 out of 100 points in 2020, as the internet use is limited by state-led interventions, such as information bans and site blockings. The government is pursuing the 'sovereign internet' policy, amending the national legislation to ensure a centralized management of the RuNet by the state. In 2020, free access was enabled to domestic online resources that were considered socially essential. From April 2021, Russia would prohibit sales of smartphones, computers, and smart TV devices without Russian software pre-installed on them, which would threaten the presence of foreign companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft on the domestic tech market. That was predicted to have a positive impact on the presence of Yandex search on smartphones in Russia.

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Internet usage in Russia

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