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Russia’s economic, political, and social development as well as its integration into the community of Western nations will depend importantly on the extent of its participation in the ongoing information revolution in which those nations are embarked. Under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, the Russian government has sought to promote the development of information and communications technologies (IT), but it is both limited in the resources it can devote to this goal and concerned about the political and national security implications of IT development. Although IT development and use have taken root in some segments of Russia’s economy and society, their reach and impact remain limited. It is very much an open question whether Russia has either the will or the capabilities to become a full-fledged participant in the information revolution in the foreseeable future. This issue paper outlines some of the major trends and contradictions in the development of information and communications technologies in Russia, explores their impact on Russian society, and raises several issues for further study.

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND National Security Research Division.

This report is part of the RAND issue paper series. The issue paper was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003 that contained early data analysis, an informed perspective on a topic, or a discussion of research directions, not necessarily based on published research. The issue paper was meant to be a vehicle for quick dissemination intended to stimulate discussion in a policy community.

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