|Introduced 1990||Status Active|
|TLD type Country code top-level domain|
Registry Russian Institute for Public Networks
Sponsor Russian Institute for Public Networks
Intended use Entities from the Soviet Union
.su was assigned as the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the Soviet Union (USSR) on 19 September 1990. Even though the Soviet Union itself was dissolved a mere 15 months later, the .su top-level domain remains in use today. It is administered by the Russian Institute for Public Networks (RIPN, or RosNIIROS in Russian transcription).
After 1989 a set of new internet domains was created in Europe, including .pl (Poland), .cs (Czechoslovakia), .yu (Yugoslavia) and .dd (East Germany). Among them there was also a domain for the USSR – .su. Initially, before two-letter ccTLDs became standard, the Soviet Union was to receive a .ussr domain. The .su domain was proposed by the then-19-year-old Finnish student Petri Ojala. On 26 December 1991 the country formally ceased to exist and its constituent republics gained independence, which should have caused the domain to begin a phase-out process, as happened with those of East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. Until 1993 there was no assigned top-level domain name for Russia. For this reason the country continued to use the Soviet domain. In 1993 the .ru domain was created, which is supposed to eventually replace the .su domain (domains for the republics other than Russia were created at different times in the mid-nineties; however, the domain usage outside the Russian region is slim). The domain was supposed to be withdrawn by ICANN, but it was kept at the request of the Russian government and Internet users.
In 2001, the managers of the domain stated that they would commence accepting new .su registrations, but it is unclear whether this action was compatible with ICANN policies. ICANN has expressed intentions to terminate the .su domain and IANA states that the domain is being phased out, but lobbyists stated in September 2007 that they had started negotiations with ICANN on retaining the domain. In the first quarter of 2008, .su registrations increased by 45%.
The domain was intended to be used by Soviet institutions and companies operating in the USSR. Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the superseding of the TLD by the new country TLDs of the republics that gained independence, it is still in use. Most of the .su domains are registered in Russia and the United States. According to the RU-CENTER data from May 2010, there were over 93,500 registered domains with the .su TLD (there are over 2.8 million .ru domains). Among the institutions still using this domain is the Russian pro-Vladimir Putin youth movement Nashi, as well as by the pro-Russian armed insurgency in Eastern Ukraine. Some organizations with roots in the former Soviet Union also still use this TLD.