MOSCOW (AFP) — Russia will be able to create its first Internet addresses using the Cyrillic alphabet next year, communications ministry official Vladimir Vassiliev told Interfax news agency on Sunday.
The move follows a decision by the organisation that regulates the Internet to deliver a radical shake-up to the domain-name system.
Russia, which currently uses two top-level domain names .ru and .su, will be able to create a third in Cyrillic by the second quarter of next year, Vassiliev said.
Some Russians have trouble using the Latin alphabet and being able to surf the web entirely in Russian would lead to an increase in the number of users, he said.
At the beginning of June, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, an internet enthusiast, said it was very important for Russia to have domain names in Cyrillic, mainly to reinforce the role of the Russian language in the world.
Russia had 35 million users at the end of last year, about 24 percent of the population. That could climb to 46 million users by the end of this year, the ministry said.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the overhaul at its annual general meeting in Paris on Thursday. It also voted to allow domain names to be lodged in languages such as Arabic or Mandarin Chinese.
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