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Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated RIGF 2019 participants on Runet's 25th anniversary

The 10th Russian Internet Governance Forum (RIGF 2019) kicked off in Moscow on April 8. The forum was opened by First Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko. He read President Vladimir Putin’s address to the forum participants, outlined the main areas of discussion for the following panel session and congratulated everyone on Runet’s 25th anniversary. Kiriyenko noted that the internet in Russia began as an experiment in exchanging research data held by enthusiasts at several research centers.

Participants in the panel session discussed the following issues from the forum agenda:

  • The need to regulate the internet at the global and national levels
  • The promotion of initiatives related to self-regulation of the industry from key players
  • Relations with global internet companies
  • Competition between local and global companies for markets and users
  • International cooperation in developing common and universal rules
  • The storage and use of user data

The comprehensive nature of the internet makes its governance one of the most challenging issues today. Russia stands for the development of common standards at the global level, first, under the auspices of the UN. Russia also advocates a peaceful, open and safe global internet space.

Participants discussed important issues like user data and the development of rules for interaction between global internet companies and users. Sergei Kiriyenko suggested discussing interaction between companies and users because “user data belongs to users, not the companies that use it.” According to Kiriyenko, the internet community needs to promote measures for self-regulation more actively, which would be supported by the state. Only rules that are developed by all participants will work and will be adhered to. The state is open to the initiatives of businesses and user communities and is ready to assist the process while adopting regulatory measures.

Kiriyenko also said that Russia welcomes all global companies in its market under the condition that they work within Russian law, provide equal working environment for both Russian and foreign entities, and respect the ethical and moral standards of Russia, as well as its national traditions, cultural and religious diversity. There can be no monopoly on the market both for global or national participants. Kiriyenko insists that only competition and the appearance of new participants and startups can guarantee the sustainable development of the internet. There is no extraterritoriality for digital companies; all of them must adhere to the laws of the country where they do business, and pay the related taxes.

The ICANN Member of the Board Danko Jevtovic read out greetings from ICANN President and CEO Goran Marby. Director of the UN Information Center Vladimir Kuznetsov read congratulations from Alison Smale, UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. They wished the .RU domain and the Russian segment of the net sustainable growth and development.

At the plenary session, Russia in the Global Web: Successes, Challenges, Solutions in the Country and in the World, participants discussed the openness and transparency of internet governance, the role of the internet in the development of people, society and the state, network safety and measures to counteract cybercrime, as well as Russia’s initiatives on a “uniting agenda” for everyone. The discussion was attended by Chengetai Masango, Head of the Secretariat of the Global Internet Governance Forum of the United Nations; Andrei Krutskikh, Russian Presidential Special Representative for International Cooperation in Information Security; State Duma Deputy Leonid Levin; Thomas Schneider, representative of the Swiss Federal Office for Communications; General Director Boris Dobrodeyev and Yandex Russia General Director Yelena Bunina.

Leonid Levin said that the reverse side of the openness of the internet is risks and threats related to the transfer of crime and interstate conflicts to cyberspace. According to Levin, “the damage of potential illegal actions or aggressive actions on the internet forces us to combine efforts to provide for the safety of the internet which has become the common heritage of mankind.”

Panel session moderator, journalist Sophie Shevardnadze said that all issues that are being discussed at the RIGF in Moscow are common for the world. For instance, at the global RIGF forum that took place under the auspices of the UN in Paris last year, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke for the need to regulate, self-regulate and develop common global rules. In the near future the UN might use the IGF as a global platform to formalize and promote initiatives for a global internal agreement.

The session was followed by a ceremony to cancel a stamp devoted to the 25th anniversary of the .RU domain. The ceremony was attended by State Duma deputy Leonid Levin, Deputy Head of the Russian Federal Communications Agency Vladimir Shelikhov, Head of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Media Mikhail Seslavinsky and Director of the Russian Association for Electronic Communications Sergei Plugotarenko. The ceremony was hosted by Director of the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ Andrei Vorobyev. Participants in the ceremony were presented framed commemorative postage stamps.

RIGF 2019 will have more interesting sessions. Watch the online broadcast on