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Alexandre Gorelik


UNIC Moscow: Study on Web Accessibility of Runet

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On June 25, 2013, a public presentation of the ground-breaking Study on Web Accessibility of Runet was held in Moscow. It is a pilot project launched by a group of non-commercial organizations, officially supported by the Russian Ministry of Communications, and assisted by the UN Office in Russia and the World Bank Moscow Office.

The task force, made up of several experienced IT experts, including persons with disabilities, conducted the study under the leadership of the “Bezgraniz” Centre, a pro-disability NGO. The document was conceived fully in line with the advocacy and awareness-raising CRPD’s dimension, bearing in mind a host of modern notions, such as universal design and assistive technologies. The aim of the study was to review and assess the current accessibility status of websites that people with disabilities in Russia might use as part of their daily lives (

The document summarizes the testing results of 20 selected Russian websites (government services, telecommunications players, private sector, including banking and social media). The concluding part of the study includes the gist of the research, a list of the most typical flaws that make websites inaccessible, and analyzes the systemic gaps. The authors state with concern that none of the tested websites meets the level of Single-A accessibility, according to the international standard WCAG 2.0. The experts also stressed the importance of developing a modern legislative framework fit for all people with special needs without exception.

During the presentation, the authors focused on recent trends and lessons learned in addressing the issue of cyber accessibility, both in Russia and globally. The event, held at the press centre of the Russian Ministry of Communications, also saw participants discussing the local policy-making and the applicability of WCAG, which is being “domesticated” in Russia. The common conclusion: it is high time to establish in Russia a legal framework and adequate policies in the area of digital accessibility that meet CRPD criteria. The task force offered to carry on the project and to involve government agencies and civil society organizations in order to implement the Convention’s dispositions on accessible and assistive ICTs.

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Press centre of the Russian Ministry of Communications - presentation of the Study on web accessibility of Runet, 25 June 2013

Image: Press centre of the Russian Ministry of Communications 

presentation of the Study on web-accessibility of Runet, 25 June 2013

Image: (left to right) Mr. Alexey Lyubimov, Research associate at the Institute of
Correctional Pedagogy of the Russian Academy of Education, one of the authors of the
Study, Ms. Janina Urussova, Director of the “Bezgraniz” Cultural Centre, chief author of
the Study, and Mr. Dmitry Satin, Adviser to the Minister of Communications.