The Russian government is preparing an action plan should they be disconnected by the west according to news reports following the deteriorating relations the country is facing with the west. A report in The Guardian suggests the plans could be ready early next year, with the plans brought forward with the aim of reducing Russia’s dependency on American technology and digital infrastructure, amid fears that its communications are vulnerable to US spying.”We are preparing an action plan. We are looking at various options how to ensure that internet access was not cut off whatever our partners might do,” Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said according to ITAR TASS.According to the ITAR TASS report, Nikiforov said his ministry’s joint exercises with the Russian defence ministry and the Federal Security Service had been necessitated by attempts to switch Russia off various networks, including those serving bank cards. He also cited as a reason the European Parliament’s plans to switch Russia off the SWIFT system.”In these conditions, we looked at scenarios when our esteemed partners suddenly decide to block internet access for Russia. Russia is a great country and cannot afford that,” Nikiforov said, adding that it was planned to work on a number of technical aspects to prevent switching the Russian segment off the worldwide web. These measures, in his words, would require no considerable funds.”Regrettable, some components of the infrastructure are not located in Russia and are administered from outside,” he said.But it could be just talk following the deteriorating relations Russia is facing with the west. Experts told ITAR TASS the full separation of Russian segment of Internet, known as Runet, from the global network is impossible both due to technical and political reasons.Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russia’s spy agencies, described the plans as big news. In an email from Moscow to The Guardian he said he “didn’t actually believe” Russian officials would disconnect the internet. But he said the moves were a “real step forward in the development of a besieged fortress mentality”He wrote: “Before, such ideas were mostly to do with so-called government communications (how to make them independent from western technologies). Now they want to expand this crazy idea to the entire internet of the country.”Soldatov said it would be technically possible for Moscow to shut off the internet because Russia has “surprisingly few” international exchange points. All of them are under the control of national long-distance operations, like Rostelecom, which are close to the authorities, he said.The most ominous element, he added, was the security council’s apparent proposal to take control over .ru, as well as the domains .su (for Soviet Union) and .рф (Russian Federation in Cyrillic). These domains currently belong to a non-government organisation, the coordination centre of the national domain, rather than to government. Many are currently hosted abroad.”The thing might be approved very quickly, and this means it shows a way to the next step – to force all domains in the .ru zone to be hosted in Russia,” Soldatov said. Kazakhstan, an authoritarian state intolerant of online criticism, did something similar two years ago, he said, adding that such a move would affect his own website Agentura.ru, which is hosted in Germany.Alexey Salnikov, the deputy director of the Information Security Institute at the Moscow State University, has rejected this possibility. “ICANN is unlikely to have technical possibilities to fully cut off one or several segments from the global Internet network,” he told ITAR TASS Friday. “The structure of the Internet envisages that if any provider shuts off its networking equipment, the traffic will go through another provider,” Salnikov explained.The coordinator at Safer Internet Center in Russia, Urvan Parfentyev, also speaking to ITAR TASS there have been no such precedents when countries were cut off the Internet and this could result in further political risks for the United States. “A huge amount of program and technical infrastructure of the Internet is within the US jurisdiction and may be used in the US interests. If any national domain is cut off, this will prove that supporters of the idea that the Internet issues should be managed by the United Nations are right,” he said.The Vedomosti newspaper reported that Russia’s Security Council, chaired by President Vladimir Putin, is due to discuss on Monday ways in which Russia could separate itself from the Internet in case of an emergency.
As of 11 November, people living outside Russia are permitted to register .Ð Ð¤ (.RF) domain names according to new terms and conditions published by the registry.
The changes aim to enhance the security of the Russian domain space and cover regulation of the secondary market among other issues.
For more information including the revised terms and conditions, see cctld.ru/en/news/news_detail.php?ID=1989.
To register your .RU and .Ð Ð¤ domain names, check out Europe Registry here.
The Russian registrar RU-CENTER won an appeal Monday against a fine of about $7.5 million imposed by the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) for holding auctions at the beginning of General Availability in the Cyrillic TLD .Ð Ð¤ (.RF) in the Moscow Arbitration Court.
The court case came about because, according to the registry, tens of thousands of domain names were registered by the biggest registrar in .Ð Ð¤, RU-CENTER, allegedly with the aim of auctioning them off at higher prices among its clients at a later date.
The scandal was always denied by RU-CENTER, who says they have acted within global best practice by auctioning off the domain names in demand.
The auctions came about following the RU-CENTER rules where there was more than one request for a domain name, an auction would take place with the domain name going to the highest bidder. This is what was to happen with around 24,700 domain names that were registered through RU-CENTER.
The RU-CENTER argued in the appeal that:
1. FAS incorrectly estimated domain name market, without taking into account international standards, foreign domain name space and experience in TLD management.
2. There was no illegal cooperation among registrars on the start of .RF open registration. RU-CENTER processed a part of its clients” applications on .RF names through other registrars. But all these registrars processed applications of their registrants first and then subsequently processed RU-CENTER applications.
3. RU-CENTER registered some domains itself via other registrars in order to process all applications of its existing clients. RU-CENTER received more than 120,000 pre-orders on .RF names at the time General Availability went live. the registry introduced a restriction preventing any registrar from processing not more than 4800 applications per hour.
RU-CENTER registered domains for its clients through other registrars itself and then did not transfer them to registrants because it was prohibited by the registry during the first year of .Ð Ð¤ General availability. All clients registered such domains received official registrant status and were able to use and administer them. After the restrictions on domain name transfer are cancelled (it will happen on 11 November 2011) RU-CENTER will automatically make the necessary registrant changes.
4. .RF auctions held by RU-CENTER are not illegal because domains were auctioned only where there were several pre-orders for the same domain. The price for auctioned domains was defined by registrants competing for them.
The recent launch of Russia’s Cyrillic top level domain, where over 600,000 domain names have been registered in less than three weeks since its launch, has been touched by scandal. According to the registry, tens of thousands of domain names have been registered by the biggest registrar in .РФ, RU-CENTER, allegedly with the aim of auctioning them off at higher prices among its clients at a later date. The auctioned domain names have now been blocked until their rightful holders have been determined, the Russian registry the Coordination Center for TLD RU, the registry for .RU and .РФ (.RF), has said.But the scandal is denied by RU-CENTER, who says they have acted within global best practice by auctioning off the domain names in demand. And it becomes more complicated with allegations of collusion between the registry’s website designer, CETIS, and a prominent registrar REG.RU, who are affiliated.The auctions came about following the RU-CENTER rules where when there was more than one request for a domain name, an auction would take place with the domain name going to the highest bidder. This is what was to happen with around 24,700 domain names that were registered through RU-CENTER. During the auctions, approximately 200 domains were withdrawn on the basis of item 4.1.3., the Domains Preorder Registration Schedule in РФ TLD. Domain names withdrawn from the auction have been given to governmental and municipal authorities, trademark owners and other individuals.Auctions on the first day, 23 November, conducted by the registrar RU-CENTER, resulted in 1446 domains being sold with an average price of approximately $100. The most expensive domain was “лото.рф” (lotto.rf), sold for $1,000.However domain names auctioned were blocked by the .РФ registry late on the afternoon of 22 November with requirements to cancel all remaining auctions over allegations of cybersquatting and inflating the prices of domain names.The registry has ordered RU-CENTER, who put up 25,000 domains with several pre-orders on the auction, to return the domains to those who were the first to apply for the domains.RU-CENTER though claims that global best practice where the auctioning off of domain names in demand to its clients was followed, something the Coordination Center for TLD RU supported RU-CENTER, the registrar claims. To resolve the situation with the auctioned domains a special commission has been organised.But the general availability launch on 11 November was not so simple. The registry imposed a limit of 4,800 .РФ domain names per hour, which was fine for smaller registrars, but for larger ones such as RU-CENTER caused problems as they could in no way meet the demand of their clients. A way around this was for the largest registrars to take advantage of standard reseller agreements with smaller registrars so they could meet the requests from their clients. Using such agreements helped RU-CENTER to meet the requests of its clients, and also to registrar a larger than anticipated number of domain names. After several days of open registration the registrar was accused by the Russian anti-monopoly service in illegal collusion. Currently the investigation is in process.However there are other problems. It has been noticed that CETIS, the website designer for the registry, managed to register domain names such as Секс.рф (Sex.rf), quite possibly the most valuable .РФ domain name going by the recent record sale of sex.com, during the sunrise period. When this was noticed the sunrise period was temporarily suspended. It is alleged that CETIS obtained trademarks similar to keywords and then applied for the same domains. Formally everything was done correctly, so the company’s application was approved.CETIS has also registered other valuable domain names via REG.RU, one of the registrars in .РФ, who, further investigation shows, are affiliated with CETIS. And it becomes more complicated with allegations of collusion between the registry’s website designer, CETIS, and a prominent registrar REG.RU, who are affiliated.
It took close to two months for .CO to reach the significant half million active registrations when it became available for general registration following its relaunch in July of this year, but it only took eight days for the Russian Cyrillic domain .РФ (.RF – Russian Federation or Российская Федерация in Cyrillic) to pass the same mark.While registrations have predictably eased off the Russian Cyrillic domain is still growing by at least several thousand per day and now stands at over 556,000 registrations.The huge interest in .РФ domains has surprised everyone including Andrey Kolesnikov, the director of the Coordination Center for TLD RU. Kolesnikov believed there could be 100,000 .РФ by the end of 2010.There are a few restrictions on registering .РФ domains for the first 12 months including that registrants must be a Russian citizen or business and the changing of the domain administrator in the first 12 months is not allowed. There is also a list of obscenities that are not allowed to be registered, a list only accredited registrars have access to.”We have compiled this stop-list in order to prevent the first registered word after the launch of the open registration period to be some ‘f@&*.рф,'” said Kolesnikov.There are many benefits in having domain names in Cyrillic. “It’s great that it will be possible now not to invent the way how to represent in Latin script many unique Russian letters: Щ, Ц, and my favorite letter Ё. Incidentally, I usually use Ё in writing and don’t replace it with Е. Letter Ё is what we missed over the years of English-speaking Internet’s reign and now it is going to revive. All patriots should register domain names with letter Ё,” Kolesnikov joked.There are no limitations on the number of domain names registered on a given individual.”I don’t think the launch of ccTLD .РФ will lead to an upsurge of cybersquatting – to this end we have banned the change of the domain administrator during one year. Basically, there is the professional domain business engaged in registering and subsequent reselling “nice” domain names. Cybersquatting means raiding of somebody’s name for the sake of blackmail and extortion. The rightholders will deal with such cases by themselves. There is a great deal of precedents in ccTLD .RU in this regard.”Andrey Kolesnikov clarified to the journalists that the registry does not set neither fixed, nor recommended prices for domain names, and this matter has been left to registrars to decide.”I don’t think that pricing in zone .РФ will differ significantly from the one in zone .RU, which at present accounts for about 500-600 Rb.”To register your .РФ domain name, check out Europe Registry here.