Digital inequality: Russia and other countries in the fourth industrial revolution

Digital economy: theory and practice

The article is dedicated to analysis of the digital divide between Russia and the leading countries in the digital world in the context of development of new information and communication technologies of Industry 4.0. The article explains the categories of digital divide and digital inequality and highlights the differences between these categories. These differences are presented in technological, social, economic and others dimensions of inequality in the modern digital world, arising not only because the subjects are integrated in digital technologies but also due to intensity and efficiency of ICT implementation and use in all fields of activity and at all levels. Development of the digital economy and society leads to the infrastructural and technological digital divide that manifests in increasing inequality, in various spheres of life, because the individual and social welfare is increasingly dependent on the ability to use information and communication technologies for access to information and knowledge.  The digitization indicators in modern Russia are analyzed on the basis of data and ratings of international and national organizations. The article focuses on the digital gap between Russia and the leading countries by digitization indicators. The problem of igital inequality at the national level is relevant for modern Russia, despite the positive changes in digitization of economy and society. In the context of accelerating pace of digitization for modern Russia, the risk of digital inequality and emergence of the Matthew effect is growing, associated with entering the next wave of growth in the digital economy based on a shift from consumer-oriented Internet to industrial digitization based on Industry 4.0 technologies.