Russian internet is an integral part of the global network


On July 17, the opening ceremony of the APrIGF 2019 Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum was held at Far Eastern Federal University on Russky Island in Vladivostok. The forum united almost 300 participants representing 50 countries, with over 100 speakers taking part in three days of plenary and breakout sessions and roundtable discussions. The Coordination Center for TLDs .RU/.РФ is the host of this international gathering.

When opening the forum, Coordination Center Director Andrey Vorobyev noted that the center, as the registry overseeing the .RU and .РФ Russian ccTLDs, was playing an active role in the organization of various Russian and international internet governance events, and APrIGF had a special place among them. “This year is an anniversary year both for APrIGF that marks its 10th anniversary and the Russian Internet Governance Forum that was also held for the tenth time this year. The first RIGF was held in 2010, when .РФ was delegated to Russia. Back then, people were skeptical about the .РФ IDN domain, and some experts believed that IDN domains would destroy the internet. It is clear today that their fears were misplaced: IDN domains exist and are developing; they are widely used in the Asia-Pacific Region, and help preserve the cultural code of various nations on the internet,” Andrey Vorobyev said.

The Coordination Center’s director added that the .RU ccTLD marked its 25th anniversary this year, and several APrIGF events would be dedicated to this.

Andrey Vorobyev also read out a message of greetings to the APrIGF 2019 participants from the Russian Presidential Executive Office. “We are glad that the international community has chosen Russia as the APrIGF 2019 host, because the Asia-Pacific Region is among the most important in the world,” the message said. In addition, it noted how important it was to preserve freedom of choice and competition on the internet at the national, regional and global levels. “If one country or a group of countries has a monopoly allowing it to form and implement the internet governance agenda, it does not promote a productive and equal dialogue involving all the key interested parties. This must be joint work by the entire international community under the auspices of the United Nations. This joint work must aim to prevent the fragmentation of the internet as a unique global resource connecting many thousands of networks and based on the single system of domain names, key infrastructure elements and universal data transfer protocols.”

The message of greetings also focused on the 25th anniversary of .RU and Runet: the success in the development of the internet was achieved over these 25 years thanks to the openness of the internet industry, a truly competitive environment and the active and equal cooperation of all the key interested parties.

The APrIGF 2019 opening ceremony continued with a speech on the use of digital technology in the regional governance by Primorye Territory Deputy Governor for Computerization and the Social Sphere Sergei Maksimchuk.

The Far East and the Far Eastern Federal District cover a large area, and many participants, including some from Russia, were surprised to learn that Yakutia is a part of it. Yakutia was also a leading Russian region in the area of digitalization and internetization, according to Vladimir Solodov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). In Yakutia, there is internet access in the 512 localities where 99.3 percent of the population lives, and 87 percent use the internet every day. “The internet provides everyone with an equal standard of government services. Using the internet, we can improve quality of life, develop public institutions and build our future,” Vladimir Solodov said.

Hasanul Haq Inu, head of the Bangladesh Standing Committee on the Ministry of Information, chair of the Bangladesh Internet Governance Forum, urged all the participants to develop a common position on the various aspects of the internet. He noted that all local and national segments of the internet were integral parts of the global internet space, and this was why it was so important to develop common approaches to issues related to security, internet governance, and digital economy. Hasanul Haq Inu focused on the need to sign a global agreement on cyberspace and to develop a framework agreement on the internet and digital economy at the UN.

“Russia also regulates the internet based on the assumption that the Russian internet is part of the global internet, and this is the approach we want to bring to the global community. Russia is open to cooperation with all the countries in the world and we aim to work together to develop policies, establish businesses and create technical standards,” continued Andrey Vorobyev.

Chengetai Masango, Manager at the United Nations Secretariat for the Internet Governance Forum, spoke about how important it was to hear the opinions of every region, every country, and every person. “The internet coverage in some Asia-Pacific countries is as high as 100 percent, but it is less than 50 in others. All these countries share the same goal: to ensure sustainable development in the region. We would like to give them all the opportunity to benefit from the advantages of the internet, and we want to involve representatives of various communities in the discussion of internet governance issues,” he said.

Questions related to internet governance cannot be discussed without the technical community. MSK-IX Director General Elena Voronina spoke about the role of traffic exchange points in the development of the global network: “Internet Exchange points make the internet faster and more effective while also providing for the localization of regional traffic, which is very important for Russia geographically. I would also like to note that the MSK-IX Moscow traffic exchange point is a classic example of the multi-stakeholder model: it was created in 1995 based on the agreements between seven providers to establish the first Russian IX in Moscow.”

In conclusion, Edmund Chang, director of the .ASIA gTLD registry, head of the APrIGF Secretariat, congratulated everyone on the opening of the forum and wished all the participants success in their work.

In addition, Head of the APrIGF Multi-Stakeholder Steering Group (MSG) Rajnesh Singh, FEFU Deputy Rector Viktoria Panova and yAPrIGF Curator Jenna Fang spoke at the opening ceremony.