On 25 September, ICANN CEO Paul Twomey and myself (as the regional manager) visited Moscow at the invitation of the Russian Minister of Information Technologies and Communications. While over there we were also scheduled to meet some of the .ru Board members, the .su administrators from the Russian Institute for Public Networks (RIPN), the Institute for Information Security Issues (IISI), and a number of other individuals both from government and businesses.
As luck would have it, our visited coincided with a Cabinet reshuffle of the Russian government and the first sessions of the new Council of Ministers. As a result, our meeting with the Minister had to be canceled, amid apologies from the Ministry International Department. Which is a shame since there are a number of important topics for both the Russian Federation and ICANN, ranging from GAC and ICANN development, to, of course, IDNs.
The rest of our time in Moscow was fortunately more successful and led to some fruitful discussions as well as a number of conclusions about what we are going to do in the next years:
- We need to do a lot of work explaining to the Russians what ICANN is, how it works, and what a multi-stakeholder approach means
- We’ll work with the Moscow State University and the IISI to organize a number of educational special workshops for mid-level Russian officials. As an immediate step, ICANN will participate in a round table between 25-27 October in Moscow, dedicated to the internationalization of the Internet, security, DNS and IP addresses, among other topics.
- We will help RIPN (RosNIIROS, running .SU) prepare a plan that provides an explanation for what might happen with the ccTLD; it will also describe what the possible steps are in the next 8-10 months, and will be published for users to see so they know what to expect when registering or using domains in the .su space.
- RIPN will publish a note on their website soon about the fact that users are facing possible migration, with an explanation of terms and reasons
We also strengthened our relationship with the .RU coordination center (the .ru ccTLD), and they will not only participate at the round table in October but also continue to attend ICANN’s meetings and participate in ICANN events – which should help bring awareness about ICANN to the Russian Internet community.
There is much more, of course, which we will post here as and when it happens.