Media and technology in CEE

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  • (unfinished) 1837 fantasy novel Year 4338, by the 19-century Russian philosopher Vladimir Odoevsky, contains predictions such as "friends' houses are connected by means of magnetic telegraphs that allow people who live far from each other to talk to each other" and "household journals" "having replaced regular correspondence" with "information about the hosts’ good or bad health, family news, various thoughts and comments, small inventions, as well as invitations" [1]
  • 1934 October, First TV sets were produced, with screen 3x9 cm, with mechanical rasterization in 30 lines, 12.5 frame/s.
  • 1934 November 15, first TV broadcast with sound in Moscow, concert
  • 1935 October 15, First sounded TV film
  • 1938 March 9, first trial studio TV broadcast in Moscow from Shabolovka. March 25, first full TV movie, The Great Citizen (Великий гражданин). June 7, first trial TV broadcast in Leningrad
  • Between 1941 and Dec 1945 all television broadcasts in the nation were interrupted because of the fascist invasion of the Soviet Union. During this initial years, most of the television programs were about life in the Soviet Union, cultural activities and sports.
  • 1940s. amateur radio users all over USSR were conducting "P2P" connections with their comrades worldwide using data codes.
  • Like all other forms of public media in the Soviet Union, Soviet TV was remarkable for having high levels of self-censorship. In addition to obvious state-mandated restrictions such as prohibition of any form of criticism of Soviet government, the list of taboo topics included all aspects of sex, public nudity, graphic portrayal of violence, and coarse language. (Unlike on many Western TV channels, where these topics are usually regulated during daytime, in Soviet Union they were completely banned regardless of time of the day or target audience.) The subject of drug abuse was generally avoided. Religion was either portrayed critically or avoided.
  • In 1960 a second national television channel is established. This initial expansion of activity encompassed mostly the city of Moscow, but to a lesser extent also Leningrad, the Urals, Siberia and the Ukrainian SSR. Each republic, area or region had its own television station.
  • The first Soviet communication satellite, called Molniya, was launched in 1965. By November, 1967 the national system of satellite television, called Orbita was deployed. The system consisted of 3 highly elliptical Molniya satellites, Moscow-based ground uplink facilities and about 20 downlink stations, located in cities and towns of remote regions of Siberia and Far East. Each station had a 12-meter receiving parabolic antenna and transmitters for re-broadcasting TV signal to local householders.
  • 1972. a massive automated data network called "Express" was launched to serve needs of Russian Railways.
  • By 1976 Soviet engineers developed a relatively simple and inexpensive system of satellite television (especially for Central and Northern Siberia). It included geostationary satellites called Ekran equipped with powerful 300 W UHF transponders, a broadcasting uplink station and various simple receiving stations located in various towns and villages of Siberian region. The typical receiving station, also called Ekran, represented itself as a home-use analog satellite receiver equipped with simple Yagi-Uda antenna. Later, Ekran satellites were replaced by more advanced Ekran-M series satellites.
  • In 1979 Soviet engineers developed Moskva (or Moscow) system of broadcasting and delivering of TV signal via satellites. New type of geostationary communication satellites, called Gorizont, were launched. They were equipped by powerful onboard transponders, so the size of receiving parabolic antennas of downlink stations was reduced to 4 and 2.5 meters (in comparison of early 12- meter dishes of standard orbital downlink stations).
  • From early 1980s the All Union Scientific Research Institute for Applied Computerized Systems (VNIIPAS) was working to implement data connections over the X.25 telephone protocol.
    • A test Soviet connection to Austria in 1982 existed
    • in 1982 and 1983 there were series of "world computer conferences" at VNIIPAS initiated by the U. N. where USSR was represented by a team of scientists from many Soviet Republics headed by biochemist Anatoly Klyosov; the other participating countries were UK, USA, Canada, Sweden, FRG, GDR, Italy, Finland, Philippines, Guatemala, Japan, Thailand, Luxembourg, Denmark, Brazil and New Zealand.
    • in 1983 the San Francisco Moscow Teleport (SFMT) project was started by VNIIPAS and an American team which included George Soros. It resulted in the creation in the latter 90s of the data transfer operator SovAm (Soviet-American) Teleport.
  • on April 1, 1984 a Fool's Day hoax about "Kremlin computer" Kremvax was made in English-speaking Usenet.
  • 1988. There are reports of spontaneous Internet (UUCP and telnet) connections "from home" through X.25 in the USSR
  • In 1988 approximately 75 million households owned television sets, and an estimated 93 percent of the population watched television
  • The face of Soviet TV began to change rapidly in the late 1980s. Soap operas -- Slave Isaura (Brazil) and later The Rich Also Cry (Mexico) -- were purchased in the West and became immensely popular among Soviet citizens. Talk shows and game shows were introduced, often copied from their western counterparts (for example, one of the earliest Soviet game shows, The field of miracles, was copied from American Wheel of Fortune). Free speech regulations were gradually eased
  • Until the late 1980s, Soviet TV programming did not include commercials of any kind. The first Western commercial was aired for the first time in May 1988; it was a Pepsi commercial featuring Michael Jackson.
  • By 1989 an improved version of Moskva system of satellite television has been called Moskva Global'naya (or Moscow Global). The system included a few geostationary Gorizont and Express type of communication satellites. TV signal from Moscow Global’s satellites could be received in any country of planet except Canada and North-West of the USA.
  • During the collapse of the Soviet Union, on 2 November 1989, the first Russian commercial television, "2×2", was born.
  • 1990. GlasNet non-profit initiative by the US-based Association for Progressive Communications sponsored Internet usage in several educational projects in the USSR (through Sovam).
  • The first one to connect UNIX email hosts country-wide (including Soviet Republics) was the Relcom organization which formed on August 1st, 1990 at the Kurchatov nuclear physics institute in Moscow. They were functioning together with partner programming cooperative Demos, named after the Soviet-made DEMOS Unix-like operating system. In August 1990 they established regular email routing with an Internet node in Helsinki University over a paid voice line
    • In 1990—1991 Relcom's network was rapidly expanding, it joined EUnet and was used to spread news about the Soviet coup attempt of 1991 worldwide while coupers through KGB were trying to suppress mass media activity on the subject. [2]
    • After the fall of the USSR many former Soviet state-controlled structures were inherited by the Russian Federation, vast telephone networks among them.
    • With the transformation of the economy, market-based telecommunication industries grew quickly, various ISPs appeared.
  • the first Russian FidoNet node reportedly started in October 1990 in Novosibirsk, and the USSR was included in FidoNet's Region 50. Russian FidoNet activity did contribute to development of Runet, as mass-networking over BBSes was for a time more popular than over the Internet in the early 90s.
  • Soviet .su domain was registered on September 19, 1990
  • Until the end of 1991 (the end of the USSR), the sole fixed line telephone operator in the country was the Ministry of Communications of the USSR. The state possessed all telecommunications structure and access networks.
  • registration of the .ru domain on April 7, 1994
  • By the mid 1990s, computer networks (where TCP/IP was replacing UUCP) appeared in many branches of regular life and commerce in Post-Soviet states.
  • Since 1997, the Russian Internet Forum (RIF) annual conference is held which goal is to discuss the development of the Runet. It is attended by members of the telecom and software industries, web content makers, representatives of state institutions.
  • Since year 2002 the Electronic Russia long-term national programme has been being implemented with a goal to provide inner governing bodies with variety of electronic services (most of state institutions have by now built their websites, following Government decree issued in February 2003). It is criticized though as some of the funds assigned are suspected to be stolen or improperly invested by corrupt officials.
  • Runet's largest online community is made up of the Russian-speaking users of the USA-based blogging platform LiveJournal, widely known as 'ЖЖ' ('ZheZhe', short for Zhivoy Zhurnal (живой журнал), Russian for "live journal"). In fall 2006 the Moscow-based firm SUP Fabrik joined forces with LiveJournal to supply users who write in Cyrillic symbols with Russian-oriented extra services and the next year bought the whole project out from previous owner SixApart. [3]
  • Many of people in Russia still use dial-up, and connection prices in regions are considered expensive by many; remnant Soviet-era wires, when used, provide poor connection quality. Home computers and Internet are more popular in the North-Western part of the country and in several Siberian regions, where many scientific institutions and naukograds are located.
  • Plenty of local commercial ISPs function in large cities, but most of the existing country-wide cable lines are held by small number of large operators such as former "monopolist", the state-controlled Rostelecom and the railways-affiliated Transtelecom, which operates country biggest DWDM fiber backbone.
  • In year 2007 the Golden Telecom company constructed massive Wi-Fi network in Moscow for commercial use which was recognized the largest urban wireless network in the world. [4]