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Passau in the online Encyclopedia Britannica

This month the Future of Russian core team and its active partners crossed borders in more than one respect. From February 3 to 6 they gathered, together with eight invitees, in Germany for the third Future of Russian conference. “The Russian Internet in a Global Context,” as F3 was called, was a truly transnational endeavor: presenters scrutinized new-media developments in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, but also Kazakhstan, the US, and Scandinavia. They did so at the more than aptly located city of Passau. This lovely town lies so close to the Czech and Austrian borders that even mobile phone providers were at a loss: should they welcome their traveling owners to Germany or to Austria? Read the rest of this entry »

Establishing the number of Internet users in a specific country will always be a difficult task. Finding ways to compare the level of Internet use between countries even harder, as statistics are often based on conflicting criteria in different countries. This has been the case for Belarus, where the number of Internet users was reduced by 3 mln from 2007 to 2008, which amounted to a reduction of more than 50% of the total number. The reason was simply that the statistics for 2007 had been completely wrong. The Ministry of Statistics had based their statistics on the registered number of users in the capital Minsk, which was bound to give a wrong number as the difference between Minsk and the rest of the country in terms of technical development is huge.

The corrected figures for 2008 are 3,1 mln users, or a third of the population in the 10 mln country. This puts Belarus on par with Russia (45,2 mln users) in relative numbers, but much higher than Ukraine (4,8 mln users), where only one in ten use the Internet, according to statistics by the International Telecommunication Union. Given the uncertainty related to these numbers one could expect the actual figures for Ukraine to be higher.