This article originally appeared on East-West Digital News, a leading English-language resource on Russian digital industries and related venture activity.

As of early 2013, approximately 50.1 million people in Russia aged 18 and older used the Internet on a daily basis, or 43% of the corresponding population. This is an 11.6% increase over the previous year, according to the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), a leading Russian polling institute.

The number of monthly unique users reached 64.4 million, FOM also found in its latest quarterly report (PDF).

Just 11% of Russian Internet users live in Moscow, 4% in St. Petersburg, 9% in cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, while 20% live in rural areas. Almost three quarters of all Russian Internet users live in the ‘European part’ of Russia.

The Internet became popular in Russia significantly later than in advanced European countries, with a mere 10% of the adult population connected in 2003, and 20% in 2007. Today, Russia still lags behind most other European countries in terms of penetration, with roughly half of the adult population connected.

But Russia is catching up quickly, with an average annual growth in Internet users exceeding 10% over the last few years. In September 2011, Russia overtook Germany as the market with the highest number of unique Internet users in Europe.

FOM’s report is based on the results of surveys conducted during the winter of 2012-2013 among a sample of 30,000 respondents in 205 urban and rural areas. The original Russian version of the report is available here. For excerpts in English, please click here.

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ewdn 730x100 Ignore at your own peril: More than 50 million Russian adults now use the Internet every day

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