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This entry is rather brief. For highlights of up to date (March 2015) information see the short report (5 pages of content) Open Education Russia, by Anna Sakoyan and Irina Radchenko
For comprehensive background on online learning in education in Russia, see E-learning:Russia, noting that it is now five years out of date


Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country extending over much of northern Eurasia. It is a semi-presidential republic comprising 83 federal subjects. At 17,075,400 square kilometers, Russia is the largest country in the world, covering more than an eighth of the Earth’s land area; with 142,000,000 people, it is the ninth largest by population. It extends across the whole of northern Asia and 40 % of Europe, spanning 11 time zones and incorporating a great range of environments and landforms.

Russia established worldwide power and influence from the times of the Russian Empire to being the largest and leading constituent of the Soviet Union, the world's first and largest constitutionally socialist state and a recognized superpower. The nation can boast a long tradition of excellence in every aspect of the arts and sciences. The Russian Federation was founded following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, but is recognized as the continuing legal personality of the Soviet Union. Russia has one of the world's fastest growing major economies.

Though Russia's population is comparatively large, its population density is low because of the country's enormous size. Population is densest in European Russia, near the Ural Mountains, and in southwest Siberia. 73 % of the population lives in urban areas. As of the 2002 Census, the two largest cities in Russia are Moscow (10,126,424 inhabitants) and Saint Petersburg (4,661,219). Eleven other cities have between one and two million inhabitants. Moscow is also the capital of Russia.

Russia's 160 ethnic groups speak some 100 languages. According to the 2002 Census, 142.6 million people speak Russian, followed by Tatar with 5.3 million and German with 2.9 million speakers. Russian is the only official state language, but the Constitution gives the individual republics the right to make their native language co-official next to Russian. Over a quarter of the world's scientific literature is published in Russian. Russian is also applied as a means of coding and storage of universal knowledge – 60 – 70 % of all world information is published in English and Russian languages.

OER in Russia: Map

Total number of Open Education Initiatives in Russia on Tuesday, 10 December 2019 at 08:15 = 4 , of which:

  • 3 are MOOC
  • 1 are OER

Initiatives per million = 0.03

Loading map...

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Russia.

Education in Russia

For a general description of education in Russia see Education:Russia.


For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Russia.

As early as the mid-60s, Russia under Soviet rule had recognized the importance of computer technology. Computers were introduced into general education with the aim of achieving a technological breakthrough for the USSR through development of information and computer literacy in all general school graduates. Special software was developed and teachers were trained. At the beginning of 90s, up to 28 % of schools were equipped with computers, mainly of Soviet make. Neither the USSR then, nor Russia since, was able to sustain these pioneering efforts. The decentralization and under-funding of the Russian education system in the 90s resulted in a growing inequity of ICT availability across the education system. During that time, the only significant forward movement in the use of ICT in education was seen in higher education (HE). For the most part, because of the division of responsibilities for education between regional and federal levels, the push was uncoordinated. It had no clearly recognizable and coherent strategy for changing either educational content or methodologies. It also led to such a degree of diversification in technical specifications and software standards that it closed the door to any subsequent system-wide approach. The net effect was that investment in ICT in higher education in Russia had very few flow-on effects to other levels of education and generally at their expense. By the late 90s, Russia had become the only country with an increasing student to computer ratio in schools, a situation caused in part by the obsolescence of the first generation computers installed in the 80s.

However, Russia’s recently improved economic and political stability is changing the picture. Russia can now afford to recognize the urgent need to embed ICT in its educational practices in both general and vocational education. Moreover, there is a clear change of attitude toward ICT education in Russian society. The general public understands the importance of ICT. School administrators, teachers, and the teachers’ union also see ICT as an important part of the reform agenda – a comparatively recent development. At the political level too, all parties have acknowledged the importance of ICT education. In the public sector, parallel with two presidential initiatives for installing modern computers in urban and rural schools, the federal government initiated two key policy programs that included measures to accelerate the introduction and integration of ICT education in both general and initial vocational schools. The programs were Development of the Common Education Information Space for 2001 – 2006 (E-Education for short), published in August 2001, and Electronic Russia for 2002 – 2010 (E-Russia for short), published in January 2002. These initiatives were perceived as a key condition for integrating Russia into the community of developed countries. However, although the programs were interrelated, there was no clear mechanism for their administrative coordination. There was neither a mechanism to coordinate the efforts of the federal government with diverse regional and institutional initiatives. Three private sector initiatives, in turn, marked interesting developments in educational funding. However, only the first was of direct relevance to general school needs and was aimed at providing a systemic change. It was the teacher training program started in 2000 by the Yukos oil company with the main goal of introducing Russian teachers to ICT in general and to the Internet in particular. The other two private ventures were the OSI education portal initiative and the Teleschool project.

Despite the emergence of highly relevant government policies and programs, public support, and Russia's natural wealth of talent, Russia has faced huge difficulties in equipping its people with the skills necessary to compete in an information economy. Russia's huge landmass, thinly spread population, lack of available finances, and regional diversity have all brought daunting challenges, especially to the setting up of effective connectivity and digital networks. So it can be said that the Russian e-learning market started to take shape only in the mid-2000s, and indeed, the country now has all the conditions for rapid development of e-learning. Since 2004, Russia has received support from The World Bank with developing higher education facilities, hardware and software application, and instructor lead professional development. So in the near future, many higher education institutions will be able to take an active part in using e-learning tools. (1)

Quality procedures

Internet in Russia

Awareness of the advantages resulting from dissemination of information and communication technologies (ICT) started to grow in Russia only at the turn of the new millennium. The Russian Federation makes some 12.5 % of the Earth’s territory and only 2.4 % of its population. So the population density, which is very important for the development of information and communication technologies, is rather low (20 % of the average figure for the world). Additionally, the population density is substantially different in different regions. Especially in rural areas with extremely low population density, severe climate and, therefore, high cost of telecommunication facilities, access to the modern telecommunication infrastructure is often poor. Local, national and international long-distance fixed telephone voice communications were still the main type of network connection in the early 21st century Russia. Mobile communication networks encompassed 74 out of 89 Russian regions at the beginning of 2001. According to information from the Communication Ministry of Russia, there were some 2.5 million cellular phone users in Russia at that time. Additionally, some 20 million users had access to cable television networks.

According to the results of research carried out by Russian Public Centre of Internet Technologies (ROCIT), the number of Internet connections in 2001 reached 5 million (compared with 3.4 million in 2000) and the audience of Runet (Russian Internet) 18 million users (11.4 million users in 2000). The regular audience was estimated at 8 million users (those who use the Internet at least once a week). At the same time, the percentage of corporate users (those who use the Internet from an office, an educational institution, a library or other point of common access) grew to 65 %, which was 5 % more than the year before. For Russia with its vast territory and poor population, these public internet access points were, indeed, important. In 2002, 79 % of Russian internet users were younger than 45. Stable growth of Internet users had been identified among managers (20 %) and students (30 %). 35 % of the Runet audience used the Internet at home and 73% of them had a monthly income below $ 100 per person. Geographically the Russian Internet audience was still concentrated in Moscow (57.2 %) and in Saint-Petersburg (9.1 %); 72 second level domains were in the capitals of Russia (Moscow and Saint-Petersburg), though more activity had been registered in the regions in 2001. A considerable digital divide continued to exist between Moscow and the regions of Russia.

Factors setting limits to the growth of the internet audience were related to the approaching saturation point as regards Moscow Internet usage, the poor quality of telephone connections in the regions and a low level of awareness of the capacities and benefits of the Internet. ROCIT considered that the Russian Internet audience was not growing very quickly because of the high cost of personal computers and the low availability of Internet connections using other cheaper terminals (e.g. specialized TV devices). The competition between internet providers in large cities, in turn, caused a trend towards a reduction in costs. Additionally, prices had become more balanced; they were different for various access speed and information volumes. The federal bodies started to pay serious attention to the Internet and to the information society after President Putin signed the Global Information Society Okinava Hartia adopted by G8 in July 2000. As a consequence, the Russian State Information Society policy also started to become more detailed. In January 2002, President Putin signed a federal law on electronic signatures, thereby rendering an electronic signature legally equivalent to a graphic signature. A law on electronic business was discussed in the State Duma and passed the first reading. The government decreed that people lacking facilities and skills should be provided with internet connections in post offices all over Russia. Centers of collective internet access were planned in 1,860 regional post-offices. Additionally, the official websites of the President, of the Security Council, of the Russian Government, of the State Duma, of all Ministers, and of regional administrations were opened, which proved the federal program Electronic Government successful. (1)

Internet in Education

In January 2002, a federal target-oriented program Electronic Russia 2002 – 2010 was initiated by the RF Government. The program aimed at computerizing the country and encouraging the development of IT and communications sectors. Additionally, the Ministry of Education of Russia in co-operation with regional authorities completed a program of computerization in country schools the year before, supplying hardware and software together with teacher training in 97 % of schools. Several projects involving training courses for school teachers were also managed by the Federation of Internet Education. (1)

Copyright law in Russia

Copyright law in Education

OER Initiatives in Russia

National OER initiatives

Regional OER initiatives

Institutional OER initiatives


1. ReVica/VISCED page for Russia (


On education and online learning generally

Summary: "Education in Eastern Europe and Eurasia provides an essential reference resource to education development and key education issues in the region. Academics and researchers working closely in the field cover education and educational development in Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Israel. Each chapter provides an overview of the development of education in the particular country, focusing on contemporary education policies and some of the problems these countries face in implementing educational reform. The book also covers the social and political issues which impact on the education system and schooling and governments' responses to recent local, regional and global events." See especially Chapter 4 - Russia: Distance Learning.

On OER and related matters

  1. Open Education Russia 2 - Experimenting with Data Expeditions, by Anna Sakoyan and Irina Radchenko, March 2015,
  2. Open Education Russia, by Anna Sakoyan and Irina Radchenko, March 2015,
  3. Educational Portals and Open Educational Resources in the Russian Federation, by Alexey Sigalov and Alexey Skuratov, IITE, Moscow, 2012,

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