USSR still alive on Internet and won't go quietly

ICT Materials 19 September 2007 22:16 (UTC +04:00)

( Reuters ) - Russian Internet enthusiasts are locked in a tussle with an international body over a relic of the Soviet past -- the .su domain name assigned to the country just before the Soviet Union collapsed.

The U.S.-based body that oversees the World Wide Web's structure, ICANN, says the name is out of date and wants to kill it off. But thousands of Internet users still use the suffix -- in part for its nostalgia value -- and are fighting to save it.

Though nearly 16 years have passed since the end of the Soviet Union, .su is increasingly popular with businesses, clubs and political groups and Russian lobbyists on Wednesday said they had started negotiations with ICANN to keep it.

"We want to try and save it," Alexei Platonov, director of the independent Russian Institute of Public Networks, which promotes technology use, said at a news briefing.

"First there is the community and secondly there is also the history of the domain name ... It's original and offers Web site names that other domains don't have any more," Platonov said.

The .su domain name was assigned to the Soviet Union as its country code on September 19, 1990 at the start of the internet revolution. The Soviet Union ceased to exist 15 months later.

The .ru domain assigned to Russia after the Soviet Union fell apart is by far the most popular domain name for Russians but people continue to register the .su the domain name.

Figures released by the .su lobbyists show there are nearly 10,000 registered Web sites with the domain name and around 1,500 new ones have been added this year.