Russians wary of Cyrillic domain names

Dec. 22, 2009 at 11:53 PM

MOSCOW, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- While the Russian government has been pushing for use of the Cyrillic alphabet in Web addresses, Russian computer users seem happier with English.

For Russians, the Internet has been a welcome window to the rest of the world, The New York Times reports. They fear sticking to the Cyrillic alphabet, created by a monk named Cyril and based on the Greek alphabet, will block the window.

Aleksei Larin, 31, a construction engineer in Tula, 115 miles south of Moscow, called the shift to Cyrillic "one more step toward isolation."

"And since this is a Kremlin project, it is possible that it will lead to the introduction of censorship, which is something that certain officials have long sought," he said.

Russian companies also appear content to forge ahead with English.

Most Russian computer users use the Latin alphabet and English for the addresses of domains and e-mail recipients, shifting to the Cyrillic alphabet for messages, the Times said. Yandex, the biggest Russian search engine, estimates about 10 percent of computer users favor Cyrillic domain names.

Until now, all domain names have been in English, with even the Russian government using the name kremlin.ru.

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