One of the most common arguments made to explain why Russians don’t finally overthrow the evil Putin in a bloody bunt is that they are brainwashed by the regime’s TV propaganda stations.
This isn’t actually very accurate at all. Russian TV isn’t any more propagandistic than in the West, and on some issues, less so; but that is for another time.
The more relevant issue that is presupposes that there few Russians have means of accessing the “free information on the Internet, which even Western propagandists acknowledge is not controlled in Russia. But today this is no longer actual, as revealed by this history of polls on Internet penetration from FOM.
As you can see, Internet penetration in Russia as of Spring 2012 went over the 50% mark. Those people can read all the Navalny, Snob and Echo of Moscow they want to.
Of those 51%, a much larger proportion access the Internet daily as opposed to the several years ago.
Internet penetration is at basically developed country levels of 70% in Moscow and St.-Petersburg, and in Med-like 50%’s in other urban areas.
The most “connected” regions lead only by 2-3 years.
Finally, a graph of Russia Internet penetration compared to developed countries (Germany, the US, Italy, Greece); BRIC’s; and Ukraine. A few interesting observations can be made:
(1) Internet penetration in Russia increased at very rapid rates throughout the 2000’s.
(2) They have now almost caught up with those of Greece and Portugal, and lag Italy by just 2-3 years. The US and Germany however both reached Russia’s current Internet penetration rates a decade earlier.
(3) Ukraine has the same Internet penetration rate in 2011, at 31%, as did Russia’s rural areas in the same type period – or Russia as a whole in 2009.
(4) Not related to Russia as such, but pertaining to one of the themes over at AKarlin, China is head and shoulders above India.