Балтийский регион
Baltic Region
ISSN: 2079-8555 (Print)
ISSN: 2310-0524 (Online)
Pages 168-184

Valuating the appropriation of digital technologies across Russian regions



The COVID-19 pandemic has proved a powerful catalyst for the integration of digital technologies in everyday life. Many digital routines have replaced the traditional ones relating to purchasing goods and services, information exchange, movement, document issuance, or scheduling medical appointments. Despite technology proliferating through society, the digital divide is widening. The place of residence is a factor affecting the involvement in digitalisation, along with age, education, income, and the availability of ICT infrastructure. This study evaluates the readiness of the population of various Russian regions to embrace digital technologies. Based on a comparative analysis of traffic to the most popular websites on the Russian Internet, grouped into five categories (e-commerce, e-government, information exchange, spatial mobility, scholarly communication), an index method for assessing readiness for digitalisation is developed. The study uses Yandex search data from February 2019 to January 2021. The findings suggest that Russian regions may be divided into digitally advanced areas, runner-ups, average performers, and the digital periphery. Recommendations are given on how to increase readiness for digital transformation in territories of different types without running the risks of forced digitalisation.

1. Plotichkina, N. V., Morozova, E. V., Miroshnichenko, I. V. 2020, Digital technologies: Policy for improving accessibility and usage skills development in Europe and Russia, World Economy and International Relations, vol. 64, no. 4, p. 70—83. doi: https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-4-70-83.

2. Shinyaeva, O. V., Poletaeva, O. V., Slepova, O. M. 2019, Information and digital inequality: Searching for effective population adaptation practices, Monitoring Obshchestvennogo Mneniya: Ekonomicheskie i Sotsial’nye Peremeny [Opinion Monitoring: Economic and Social Change], vol. 152, no. 4, p. 68—85.doi: https://doi.org/10.14515/monitoring.2019.4.04.

3. Reuschke, D., Mason, C., Syrett, S. 2021, Digital futures of small businesses and entrepreneurial opportunity, Futures, vol. 128, no. 102714. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2021.102714.

4. Hatuka, T., Zur, H., Mendoza, J. A. 2021, The urban digital lifestyle: An analytical framework for placing digital practices in a spatial context and for developing applicable policy, Cities, vol. 111, no. 102978. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2020.102978.

5. Chang, E., Zhen, F., Cao, Y. 2016, Empirical analysis of the digital divide from the perspective of internet usage patterns: A case study of Nanjing, International Review for Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, vol. 4, no. 1, p. 49—63. doi: https://doi.org/10.14246/irspsd.4.1_49.

6. Wang, D., Zhou, T., Wang, M. 2021, Information and communication technology (ICT), digital divide and urbanization: Evidence from Chinese cities, Technology in Society, vol. 64, no. 101516. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2020.101516.

7. Song, Z., Wang, C., Bergmann, L. 2020, China’s prefectural digital divide: Spatial analysis and multivariate determinants of ICT diffusion, International Journal of Information Management, vol. 52, no. 102072. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2020.102072.

8. Wilson, C. K., Thomas, J., Barraket, J. 2019, Measuring digital inequality in Australia: The Australian digital inclusion index, Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, vol. 7, no. 2, p. 102—120. doi: https://doi.org/10.18080/ajtde.v7n2.187.

9. Palmer-Abbs, M., Cottrill, C., Farrington, J. 2021, The digital lottery: The impact of next generation broadband on rural small and micro businesses in the North East of Scotland, Journal of Rural Studies, no. 81, p. 99—115. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.08.049.

10. Dickes, L., Crouch, E., Walker, T. 2019, Socioeconomic determinants of broadband non-adoption among consumer households in South Carolina, USA, Ager, no. 26, p. 103—127. doi: https://doi.org/10.4422/ager.2018.17.

11. Billon, M., Lera-Lopez, F., Marco, R. 2016, ICT use by households and firms in the EU: links and determinants from a multivariate perspective, Review of World Economics, vol. 152, no. 4, p. 629—654. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10290-016-0259-8.

12. Žilinskas, G. 2012, Analysis of digital divide in regions of the Republic of Lithuania, Public Policy and Administration, vol. 11, no. 3, p. 502—513. doi: https://doi.org/10.5755/j01.ppaa.11.3.2506.

13. Kuc-Czarnecka, M. 2020, COVID-19 and digital deprivation in Poland, Oeconomia Copernicana, vol. 11, no. 3, p. 415—431. doi: https://doi.org/10.24136/OC.2020.017.

14. Bychkova, S. G., Parshintseva, L. S., Gerasimova, E. B. 2020, The Assessment of Territorial Differences in Access and Use of Information and Communication Technologies in the Russian Federation. In: Bogoviz, A. (eds) Complex Systems: Innovation and Sustainability in the Digital Age. Studies in Systems, Decision and Control, vol 282, Springer, Cham, p. 197—206. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-44703-8_22.

15. Gladkova, A., Ragnedda, M. 2020, Exploring digital inequalities in Russia: an interregional comparative analysis, Online Information Review, vol. 44, no. 4, p. 767—786. doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-04-2019-0121.

16. Arkhipova, M. Yu., Sirotin, V. P. 2019, Development of digital technologies in Russia: Regional aspects, Economy of Region, vol. 15, no. 3, p. 670—683. doi: https://doi.org/10.17059/2019-3-4.

17. Nagirnaya, A. V. 2015, Development of the internet in Russian regions, Regional Research of Russia, vol. 5, no. 2, p. 128—136. doi: https://doi.org/10.1134/S2079970515020082.

18. Korovkin, V. 2020, Tsifrovaya zhizn’ rossiiskikh regionov. Chto opredelyaet tsifrovoi razryv? [The Digital Life of Russian Regions 2020: What Defines the Digital Divide?], Institute for Emerging Markets Research, SKOLKOVO Business School (IEMS), SSRN. 62 p. doi: https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.17835.26400 (in Russ.).

19. Kupriyanova, M., Dronov, V., Gordova, T. 2019, Digital divide of rural territories in Russia, Agris On-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, vol. 11, no. 3, p. 85—90. doi: https://doi.org/10.7160/aol.2019.110308.

20. Popova, A. L., Nuttunen, P. A., Kanavtsev, M. V., Serditov, V. A. 2020, The impact of the digital divide on the development of socio-economic systems, IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, vol. 433, no. 1, art. 012022. doi: https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/433/1/012022.

The article