Russia was among the first countries to introduce radio and television. Due to the enormous size of the country Russia leads in the number of TV broadcast stations and repeaters. There were few channels in the Soviet time, but in the past two decades many new state-run and private-owned radio stations and TV channels appeared. In 2005 a state-run English language Russia Today TV started broadcasting, and its Arabic version Rusiya Al-Yaum was launched in 2007.
The telecommunications system in Russia have undergone significant changes since the 1980s, resulting in more than 1,000 companies licensed to offer communication services today. The foundation for liberalization of broadcasting was laid by the decree signed by the President of the USSR in 1990. Communication is mainly regulated through the Federal Law "On Communications" and the Federal Law "On Mass Media"
The Soviet-time "Ministry of communications of the RSFSR" was through 1990s transformed to "Ministry for communications and informatization" and in 2004 it was renamed to "Ministry of information technologies and communications (Mininformsvyazi)", and in 2008 — "Ministry of connections and mass commnunications (Minkomsvyaz)".
The "Ministry of press and information of the RSFSR" was in 1990s renamed to "Ministry of Press, Broadcasting and Mass Communications (Minpechati)" and in 2004 it was turned into the "Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications (Rospechat)" which was no longer a standalone ministry but a subdivision to the "Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications" (originally "Ministry of culture of the RSFSR"). In 2008 it was re-subordinated back to "Minvsyazi".
Telephones - main lines in use: 25.019 million (1995)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 161,000,000 (2007)
The telephone systems in the 60 regional capitals have modern digital infrastructures; cellular services, both analog and digital, are available in many areas. In the rural areas, the telephone services are still outdated, inadequate, and low density.
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. In 1994 the investment communication company (OJSC “Sviazinvest”) was established by the Presidential Decree #1989 dated October 10, 1994 “On the specific features of the state management of the electric communication network for public use in Russian Federation”. The authorised capital of OJSC “Sviazinvest” was formed by the consolidation of federal shares of joint stock companies acting in the area of electric communications and established during the privatisation of the state enterprises for electric communications.
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