Russian President Wants Cyrillic Internet Domain

    June 11, 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says Russia needs to be assigned an Internet domain name in the Cyrillic script in an effort to promote Russian as an international language.

The Kremlin is worried that Russian, once the main language in the Soviet Union is being used less because of local languages and the influence of English.

Medvedev said that 300 million people worldwide used Russian media and that a Cyrillic domain name would play an important role in raising the importance of Russian as a language.

"We must do everything we can to make sure that we achieve in the future a Cyrillic Internet domain name — it is a pretty serious thing," Medvedev told the International Congress of Russian Press in Moscow.

"It is a symbol of the importance of the Russian language and Cyrillic and it is not a bad sphere of cooperation. And I think we have a rather high chance of achieving such a decision in the Internet world."

Medvedev is a fan of the Internet and says he surfs online every morning for news. He also uses his mobile phone to connect to the Internet.

Russian Internet sites use domain names in the Latin script, which is standard for most parts of the Internet. Addresses end in .ru or in .su, a domain name that comes from the Soviet Union.

Industry experts say Russia wants its domain name to be .rf which stands for Russian Federation, but written in Cyrillic script.

Critics are concerned that it could lead to tighter control of the media.

Russian is the sixth most spoken language in the world after Madarin, English, Hindi/Urdu, Arabic and Spanish.