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The Soviet InterNyet

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The Soviet InterNyet

Soviet scientists tried for decades to network their nation. What stalemated them is now fracturing the global internet


5 min read
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Self-serving politics destroyed the former USSR’s chances of founding the World Wide Web.

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In the second half of the 20th century, and in the middle of an exciting global race to build computer networks, the story of Russia’s self-disqualification teaches a valuable lesson. Assistant communications professor and author Benjamin Peters follows the fate of Soviet computer scientists who repeatedly failed to obtain the necessary support to develop and implement computer network technologies within Soviet government systems. As a result of bureaucracy and self-interest, the USSR failed to keep up with global advances in technology, and the United States created the Internet. getAbstract recommends Peters’s insights to world history buffs and technology wonks.


Beginning in the 1950s, the Soviet Union invested in technology, among other modern advances. Anatoly Ivanovich Kitov, a military officer and computer researcher, placed his focus on the national economy. His plan was to share military computers with “civilian organizations” for “economic planning” when the military wasn’t using the computers. When the military saw the proposal, they kicked Kitov out of the Red Army and suspended his Communist Party membership.

Russian computer scientist Viktor Glushkov handpicked...

About the Author

Benjamin Peters is an author and assistant professor of communication at the University of Tulsa. His latest book is How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet.

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