ICANN has received a request to delegate “рф” as a country-code top-level domain representing the Russian Federation, to Coordination Center for TLD RU. ICANN Staff have assessed the request, and provide this report for the ICANN Board of Directors to consider.
The “RU” ISO 3166-1 code, from which this application’s eligibility derives, is designated for use to represent the Russian Federation.
The domain under consideration for delegation at the DNS root level is “рф”. This is represented in ASCII-compatible encoding according to the 2003 IDNA specification as “xn--p1ai”. The individual Unicode code points that comprise this string are U+0440 U+0444. In Russian language, the string has a meaning equivalent to “R.F.”, as an initialism for Российская Федерация (“Russian Federation” in English). The string is expressed using the Cyrillic script.
Discussion concerning a Cyrillic country-code top-level domain for Russia started in earnest around 2008, when the press took a particular interest in the possibility of such a domain. The Coordination Centre for TLD RU, the current sponsoring organisation of the .RU domain, polled the community on opinions with a majority favouring the introduction, albeit with a small number favouring an alternate string being used.
In June 2008, the Council of the Coordination Center undertook a project to work on such a domain.
The Coordination Center conducted publish outreach to highlight the importance of the Cyrillic domain, including a number of conferences and round-table events. Notably, during this period, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev highlighted the importance of such a domain, stating “We must do everything we can to get the assignment of domain names in Cyrillic.”
While most in the community were supportive of the proposed domain, there were some skeptical reactions. The main areas of concern expressed were that it was a mechanism of extracting more domain registration fees from trademark holders and website operators; and that it would “build a Cyrillic cyberghetto”.
In November 2009, an application was made to the new “IDN Fast Track” process to have the string “рф” recognised as representing the Russian Federation. The Minister of Telecoms and Mass Communication of the Russian Federation supported the application, as well as a number of private bodies. The Deputy Director of the Institute for the Russian Language advised that the acronym was a “broadly used as a common equivalent to the proper noun” for the Russian Federation.
On 6 January 2010, review by the IDN Fast Track DNS Stability Panel found that “that the applied-for string associated with the fast track application ... presents none of the threats to the stability or security of the DNS ... and (b) presents an acceptably low risk of user confusion”. The request for the string to represent the country of the Russian Federation was subsequently approved.
On 25 January 2010, Coordination Center for TLD RU presented an application to ICANN for delegation of “рф” as a top-level domain.
The proposed sponsoring organisation is the Coordination Center for TLD RU, an “autonomous non-commercial organisation” under Russian law, situated at Bolshoy Golovin pereulok 23, Moscow, Russia.
The proposed administrative contact is Andrei Kolesnikov, Director of Coordination Center for TLD RU. The administrative contact is understood to be based in the Russian Federation.
The proposed technical contact is Marina Nikerova, CEO of the Technical Center of Internet.
The top-level domain “рф” is eligible for delegation under ICANN policy, as the string has been deemed an appropriate representation of the Russian Federation through the ICANN Fast Track String Selection process, and the Russian Federation is presently listed in the ISO 3166-1 standard.
Support for this application has been received from the Minister of Communication and Mass Media of the Russian Federation. Its support is for a five year duration.
Support for the request has been expressed by the Internet Providers Union, the Regional Public Center for Internet Technologies, and the Association of Scientific and Eductional Organisations (RELARN).
The application is consistent with known applicable laws in the Russian Federation.
The proposed sponsoring organisation undertakes to operate the domain in a fair and equitable manner.
The proposed sponsoring organisation is constituted in the Russian Federation. The proposed administrative contact is understood to be resident in the Russian Federation. The registry is to be operated in the country.
The application does not involve a transfer of domain operations from an existing domain registry, and therefore stability aspects relating to registry transfer have not been evaluated.
The application is not known to be contested.
The applicant has provided a detailed and extensive explanation of the policy development processes, and proposed registry operations for the domain. They have demonstrated a great deal of thoughtfulness has been placed into how the domain would be operated, and the structure of its operations. The proposed sponsoring organisation is the current operator of the .RU domain, and therefore has already gained technical and operational experience in running a top-level domain.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is tasked with managing the Domain Name System root zone as part of a set of functions governed by a contract with the U.S. Government. This includes managing the delegations of top-level domains.
A subset of top-level domains are designated for the local Internet communities in countries to operate in a way that best suits their local needs. These are known as country-code top-level domains, and are assigned by ICANN to responsible trustees (known as “Sponsoring Organisations”) who meet a number of public-interest criteria for eligibility. These criteria largely relate to the level of support the trustee has from their local Internet community, their capacity to ensure stable operation of the domain, and their applicability under any relevant local laws.
Through an ICANN department known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), requests are received for delegating new country-code top-level domains, and redelegating or revoking existing country-code top-level domains. An investigation is performed on the circumstances pertinent to those requests, and, when appropriate, the requests are implemented. Decisions on whether to implement requests are made by the ICANN Board of Directors, taking into account ICANN’s core mission of ensuring the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems.
The evaluation of eligibility for country-code top-level domains, and of evaluating responsible trustees charged with operating them, is guided by a number of principles. The objective of the assessment is that the action enhances the secure and stable operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems. The evolution of the principles has been documented in “Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (RFC 1591), “Internet Domain Name System Structure and Delegation” (ICP-1), and other informational memoranda.
In considering requests to delegate or redelegate country-code top-level domains, input is sought regarding the proposed Sponsoring Organisation, as well as from persons and organisations that may be significantly affected by the change, particularly those within the nation or territory to which the ccTLD is designated.
The assessment is focussed on the capacity for the proposed sponsoring organisation to meet the following criteria:
To assess these criteria, information is requested from the applicant regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and method of operation. In summary, a request template is sought specifying the exact details of the delegation being sought in the root zone. In addition, various documentation is sought describing: the views of the local internet community on the application; the competencies and skills of the trustee to operate the domain; the legal authenticity, status and character of the proposed trustee; and the nature of government support fort he proposal. The view of any current trustee is obtained, and in the event of a redelegation, the transfer plan from the previous sponsoring organisation to the new sponsoring organisation is also assessed with a view to ensuring ongoing stable operation of the domain.
After receiving this documentation and input, it is analysed in relation to existing root zone management procedures, seeking input from parties both related to as well as independent of the proposed sponsoring organisation should the information provided in the original application be deficient. The applicant is given the opportunity to cure any deficiencies before a final assessment is made.
Once all the documentation has been received, various technical checks are performed on the proposed sponsoring organisation’s DNS infrastructure to ensure name servers are properly configured and are able to respond to queries for the top-level domain being requested. Should any anomalies be detected, ICANN staff will work with the applicant to address the issues.
Assuming all issues are resolved, an assessment is compiled providing all relevant details regarding the proposed sponsoring organisation and its suitability to operate the top-level domain being requested. This assessment is submitted to ICANN’s Board of Directors for its determination on whether to proceed with the request.