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.
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