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Russian Social Networks: An Overview
October 1, 2011 20:57

Russia with 170 mln population has a big potential for social nets (SN) expansion. People’s desire to keep in touch, share and get information about friends, family members, class-mates, play games and just to be trendy has let social nets to grow in quality and quantity. Now it is Russian social nets, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki, Moy Mir, Moy Krug which are most popular among Russians. is the largest and most visited social net in Russia and CIS.  It is not only a quick and modern way of communication but also the place for searching soul mates in groups, organizing meetings, listening to music, watching video, developing business and music bands, advertisement positioning, playing games and many other opportunities offered by 6500 applications in VKontakte. was founded by brothers Pavel and Nikolay Durov in September 2006 as a social net for students and graduates. By November 2006 registration was only by invitation, but then it became free and available for everyone. The amount of users was growing very fast and by July 2007, there were 1 mln registered users. In 2009 got ahead its main rival in traffic for the first time, the number of users was about 70mln. November 2010 brought its 100 mln user. 

In 2020 the largest volume of content was still published on VKontakte - 496 million messages per month. VKontakte remains the leader in this indicator. is a social net for searching and keeping in touch with former school classmates, university group-mates, colleagues. The site lets not only look for the lost connections but also communicate with the users by the means of massages and video chat, join various groups by interests and create your own ones, making new friends.
A user on his/her profile page may share his/her status, create photo albums, add various applications, watch through guest who has visited his/her profile, read friends and groups’ news in the news wall. In April 2010 the site offered on-line games. Now there are about 300 games of different kinds: logic, table, arcades, high popular farms and virtual worlds, which attract many users. From April 2011 one may post a video on the site.     

Traffic has reached its highest point of 10 mln people a day in March 2010. After this the website traffic started falling. Now the stable growth is observed. In March 2011, is visited by about 19 million people daily, with 7.8 mln unique visitors a day.

The social net was launched in March 26, 2006 by a Russian web developer Albert Popkov. Albert Popkov used to work in IT sphere in the UK, where he took part in developing directory services and in creating the social net From 2000 he started working on his own social service project like popular European net Classmates. When he went back to Russia he launched his project investing his own means. In Autumn 2010 the social net joint the holding Group. The free e-mail service now has a link to

Paid registration was implemented from 2008 to 2010. The account could have been accidentally deleted and you would have to pay money to register. This caused a massive outflow of users to other social networks, including VKontakte. But by 2010, this practice was abandoned and returned to the free regime. Odnoklassniki moved to a more laconic OK domain by analogy with VK. The site is owned by the   MailGroup.

Social network With friends (V Krugu Druzey)

The portal appeared much earlier than its competitors, but it could not gain popularity. To date, only 18 million people are registered there. Social network With friends belongs to the company "Cyril and Methodius", which produces multimedia educational products, textbooks and various reference books. It  changed three domain names: in 2003, in 2007 and in 2008.   The site positioned itself as a service for finding old acquaintances and classmates. It does not have any special features, compared to popular social networks.

Social network My world (Moy Mir) was developed by the MailGroup company. Originally it was meant as a service that would unite many Mail projects under a single interface. But  in just a few months, it grew into its own social network.   Almost every year, new functions were added to the interface that corresponded to trends: listening to music, microblogging, news commentary, messaging. Obviously, the company focused primarily on the giants of the industry - VK and OK. It became the fifth most popular site in Russia and the first in Kazakhstan. According to statistics, it the only service where the female audience exceeds the male one.

Legal advice on Russian legislation


Author: Irina Fomina

Tags: Russian social networks Russian Internet    

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