Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Internet Revolution in Russia

01 cat at the computer keyboard


Probably, the diversity of political life that we’ve all witnessed in the outgoing year overshadowed an internet revolution that took place in Russia. A survey conducted by TNS Global says that the number of internet users in Russia has reached 70 million (or 50 percent of the population). In 2011, Russia left Germany and France behind in that respect, a poll by ComScore shows. Recently, Google unveiled the results of a survey showing that Russian students spend about 4 hours a day browsing the web, longer than other students worldwide do.

At present, it’s obvious that the internet’s more popular than television is. In April, Yandex, Russia’s largest browser, reported 19 million visitors a day, whilst Первий Канал (Pervy Kanal: Channel One) had an audience of nearly 18 million. “This is a real revolution for the Russian media, Damir Khalilov, who runs the GreenPR marketing agency, said, “The internet, and, in particular, social networking sites enjoy a wider audience. Advertisement is going online. It means that the internet has played a far more important role in shaping public opinion. The intensity of the so-called PR wars on the internet increased this year”.

This has also been a breakthrough year for Russia in terms of the use of internet in political life. Web cameras were in all polling stations across Russia during the 4 March presidential election, allowing every internet user to watch the election process at home. The initiative to install web cameras brought the internet to remote districts of Russia. It took Rostelecom 79 days to install new routes of internet connection. The mere fact that most Russian internet companies have tried to access foreign markets (and Yandex has already reached Turkey) speaks for itself.

In October, Mark Zuckerberg, one of the co-founders of the social networking site Facebook, visited Moscow to attend a competition for application programmers titled Facebook World Hacker Cup. By the way, the 2012 winner comes from Russia. Some experts believe that Mr Zuckerberg came to Moscow to lure away the country’s best programmers, whilst others say that he was interested in exploring the potential of the Russian internet market. German Klimenko commented, “I think that Zuckerberg’s no longer responsible for Facebook`s headhunting. A strong PR campaign was held to attract Russian users to Facebook and make them spend less time on Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki. Time will show whether this campaign was totally successful”.

Of course, there’s still much room for improvement as far as the development of the internet in Russia is concerned. However, progress is obvious. Moreover, what’s also important here is that internet revolutions usually do more good than harm.

7 January 2013

Arkady Beinenson

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Willard Romney lost the 2012 US presidential election because the Republican Party is stuck in the 1980s. Republicans don’t want to face the fact that the internet revolution wiped out television as a potent medium. I rarely, if ever, watch the boob tube… and I’m not alone. Barack Obama used the internet much more skilfully than the Republicans did. The Republicans’ love of money blinded them. To put it bluntly, they thought that they could buy the election. Here’s the problem… money doesn’t work the same way in the internet as it does on over-the-air broadcasting (both TV and radio)… interestingly enough, cable has WEAKENED broadcast’s punch, not strengthened it (by shattering the market into niches instead of megablocs).

Because of this weakness, the only two demographics that Wet Willy won were White Evangelicals (both male and female) and White Males in general (White Females rejected Willy, although Willy won White Evangelical Females… there’s a story in that thar hill, kids). Black, Hispanic, female, non-Anglo White, and leftist blooggers stepped up and fought the Koch/Rove media machine to a standstill. The word spread instantly throughout the web, and Willy found that every blunder he made was broadcast across the country in nanoseconds. Barack Obama isn’t a white knight on a charger, but he’s preferable to the alternative… and he’s more hip to the modern world and its advances, especially, the “proletarianisation” of the media caused by the internet.

This is also true in Orthodox media. Both oca.org and the ROCOR website are horrid, unresponsive, and beastly. On the other hand, patriarchia.ru is one of the most crack internet operations out there. They post the news as it happens, even on Christmas and Easter. When HH visited Maternity Home nr 3 after Christmas services, the images were up that very day, and there was no excuse given, “It was Christmas, and the staff was off”. Lyonyo, Jillions, Lil’ Mizz Ginny, Victor Potapov, Rod Dreher, and the ROCOR site webmaster all deserve to be taken out to the woodshed for a Cossack horsewhipping. Their laziness, lack of attention to detail, and downright-weaselly posts are obvious even to the slow learners.

The internet is revolutionising more things than just social networks and politics… just ask James Paffhausen and Herman Swaiko. Think on that, kids…



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