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4 Apr, 2008 02:54

Medvedev urges Russians to get online

A third of Russia’s citizens will soon have access to the Internet, according to Dmitry Medvedev, who was speaking at the 12th Internet Forum, held in Moscow region.

However, the President-elect hinted that freedom of speech on the internet comes with certain responsibilities.

“I think the answer to this question is quite simple. Laws have to be observed everywhere, including the internet. There should be no conflict with the Criminal Code. At the same time the state has to be tolerant and wise, especially during the current development,” Medvedev said.

He also said he approved of popular social networking websites and opposes a total ban on access to them at schools.

Medvedev also said the state needs to have a liberal policy towards the World Wide Web and to enrich services and products offered to Russians online.
Internet portals and search engines are fighting over the number two spot in Russia.
While Yandex is the leader, surveys disagree on who is in second place – Mail.ru, Rambler, or Google.

Google entered the Russian market in 2005. Vladimir Dolgov joined it from Russian internet retailer Ozon.ru. Under his leadership, Google has raised its share of Russian internet users to 28%.

“To make a lot of money in Russia or to immediately become search engine number one is not tomorrow's goal. The main idea is to bring here the same services and level of service that is available for people who use Google in other languages, and then to gain the audience through better services and better quality of services,” he said.
The leaders of the Russian-speaking corner of the internet are a diverse bunch.

Yandex focuses on search, Mail.ru on email, Rambler bills itself as a one-stop shop.

Rambler is the flagship of London-listed Rambler Media. It offers search, email, dating and ICQ instant messaging services through partnerships.

In 2007, Russia’s internet advertising market was estimated to be worth $US 420 million. But other figures are hard to come by – and large areas of Russia still have little access to the net.