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Russian internet governance forum has ended

The First Russian Internet Governance Forum (RIGF-2010) which was co-sponsored by the Coordination Center for ccTLD .RU and the RF Ministry of Telecom and Mass Media and held on 13-14 May in Moscow Expocenter on Krasnaya Presna has finished its work.

The Russian Forum has become the first regional event of this sort held not only in Russia but in Eastern Europe and the Forum’s ties to the IGF family has played an important role. The framework of the IGF provides the platform for a regular interaction between leading representatives of the Internet community, governments and business community. The groundbreaking event held in Russia has met expectations of the global community and boosted up Russia’s profile as an Internet nation. The Forum was attended by 500-plus participants, including over 100 foreign ones.

While opening the Forum, Mr. Igor Schegolev, the RF Minister for Telecom and Mass Media, compared the public need for the Internet with demand for air and stressed that the combat for safer Internet is similar to the campaign for clean air and it is vital. “Our country takes a proactive role in shaping the global information environment,” said Mr. Schegolev. “In most countries, including Russia, there emerged a unique Internet governance model whereby governance is exercised by non-governmental organizations along with the government’s contribution and with a due account of interests of business community and at-large community’s interests,” reckoned the Minister.

The opening of the Forum coincided in time with a paramount event in the life of the RUnet. Rod Beckstrom, the President and Executive Director of ICANN, who attended the Forum, officially announced the launchof the new Cyrillic domain .РФ and handed over to Mr. Andrey Kolesnikov, the Director of the Coordination Center for ccTLD .RU, a plaque certificate of the Administrator of the  new Russian domain. Thus, on 13 May 2010 Russia has entered a new era of development of its national domain space. 

The new national Russian domain .РФ and its impact on development of the global Internet and its evolution in Russia formed the tenor of the event. Gen. Vladislav Sherstyuk, counselor to the Secretary of the RF Security Council, trusts that the launch of the ccTLD .РФ is “a milestone decision for Russia with far-reaching positive effects.” Markus Kummer, the Executive Coordinator of the IGF Secretariat,  believes the functioning of the new Cyrillic domain is a “sticking achievement for Russia”. 

The Forum has grown into a platform for dialogue: practically all sessions have turned into a trilateral dialogue between representatives of government, business community and civil society, with endless discussions in the conference rooms and and on the sidelines. The Forum was attended by representatives of the State Duma, Russian and foreign officials (the RF Minister of Telecom and Mass Media, Mr. Igor Schegolev, US Assistant Secretary of Commerce on Telecommunications and Information, Lawrence Strickling, Counselor to the Secretary of the RF Security Council, Vladislav Sherstyuk), leading representatives of the Internet community (the Coordination Center for ccTLD .RU, ICANN,, Yandex) among others.

Officials, businessmen, academics, technical specialists and representatives of the NGO community had a chance to hear others and have their voice heard. “Solution to the problem of the global Internet governance may be found in a dialogue between the government, technical specialists, and  the civil society. The greater part of decisions is taken just at the national, not international, level,” Markus Kummer emphasized in his presentation at the closing plenary session “Think globally, act nationally,” said he stressing significance of the Russian Internet Governance Forum for Russia and the world.

The honor to close the First Russian Internet Governance Forum was given to two prominent Russian Internet experts - Messrs. Alexey Soldatov, Deputy Minister of Telecom and Mass Media, and Mikhail Yakushev, Chairman of the Council of the Coordination Center for ccTLD .RU. Mr. Yakushev argued that the Forum organizers saw their mission in ensuring broader contacts. “We have achieved it: those engaged in the Internet governance on the global scale and those who deal with this kind of issues in Russia have got a chance to meet and take a closer look at each other. We have also managed to find out more about our foreign colleagues’ level of understanding of our problems.” He also vowed that “Internet governance underscores participation of three groups of stakeholders: government, business and civil society. Where any of these groups is falling out of the dialogue decisions turn out to be flawed and ensuing bills turn out to be flawed.” Mr. Alexey Soldatov added that it is necessary to apply all ways for communication between community at large, business community and government representatives on the issues of Internet governance and expressed hope for furthering such a dialogue.