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A successful, yet not complete, trip to Russia

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.


    Domain Name System
    Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."