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Settlement Aspect of Digital Inequality in Modern Russia

Shabunova A.A., Gruzdeva M.A., Kalachikova O.N.

4 (108), 2020

Shabunova A.A., Gruzdeva M.A., Kalachikova O.N. Settlement aspect of digital inequality in modern Russia. Problems of Territory's Development, 2020, no. 4 (108), pp. 7–19. DOI: 10.15838/ptd.2020.4.108.1

DOI: 10.15838/ptd.2020.4.108.1

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
Digitalization is considered to be one of the promising drivers of rural territories’ development and the reduction of territorial inequality in general. The article examines the residence factor of Russian regions’ digitalization. On the basis of an analysis of individual indicators that characterize the Internet access, its active usage, availability of digital skills among population, and the refusal to use digital services due to the lack of skills, Russian regions were grouped according to levels of digital development. It is shown that regions-leaders include entities with a highly developed infrastructure, high living standards, and a significant educational, scientific and technical potential. Regions-outsiders, in terms of digital development level, have a relatively high share of rural population or an agrarian-orientated economy. The involvement of urban and rural population in a digital environment is analyzed, and it is revealed that urban residents use ICT in all spheres of life more actively. The determination of digital development in rural areas is defined not only by infrastructure difficulties but also by lower demand caused by the way of life and the organization of production. In this regard, and due to lower living standards, rural residents see Internet costs as an additional, non-mandatory contribution to the budget. In comparison with urban residents, they are less likely to use the Internet for the solution of vital issues like the search for information, the performance of financial transactions, and the purchase of goods and services. There is also a gap in development of digital skills, and, even though a proportion of rural population that is included in the digital environment grows, the gap between them and urban residents does not bridge according to a number of specialized skills. The results obtained are of practical significance for development of research areas of Russian regions’ socio-economic inequality and management decisions – within the national project “Digital economy of the Russian Federation” too


digitalization, territorial digital inequality, digital skills, settlement aspect, urban and rural residents