Free access to socially-meaningful informational Internet sites in Russia: the new tax and new challenge for Internet competition?

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Author: Artem Khusnutdinov

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2022-6-95-107

Keywords: Internet access; tax in the natural form; competition; socially-meaningful informational resources; Internet


Access to social-meaningful information resources, i.e., Internet sites, is an innovation in Russian legislation that creates a new obligation on providers of informational-telecommunication services. Legislation has changed in two ways: first, by shifting from a generally “limiting” approach to governance of the Internet, and, secondly, by burdening telecommunication providers with socially-meaningful functions and paying compensation for this. There also are potential risks in this initiative, in its support for competition among Internet resources and in its financial burden on Internet providers to provide free access to the Internet in the absence of compensation mechanisms in the law and in view of obligations created by the “Yarovaya law”. One of the main focuses of this article is the constitutional law aspects of the new obligation of Internet providers to provide free access to socially-meaningful information resources. It also discusses parallels between this new obligation and the tax obligation. It sees these obligations as very similar, despite tax obligations being paid only by money. It analyzes decisions of the Russian Constitutional Court regarding normative criteria for norms of taxation. Also noted are the effects on competition among Internet services of international Internet services leaving the Russian market. In conclusion the author suggests changes in Russian legislation to make it more compatible with the growing socially-meaningful significance of Internet access and to resolve contradictions arising from it.

About the author: Artem Khusnutdinov – Lawyer, Ufa, Russia.

Citation: Khusnutdinov A. (2022) Besplatnyy dostup k sotsial’no znachimym internet-saytam v Rossii: novyy nalog i vyzov dlya konkurentsii? [Free access to socially-meaningful informational Internet sites in Russia: the new tax and new challenge for Internet competition?]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 31, no. 6, pp. 95–107. (In Russian).


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