The domain name .рф (romanized as .rf; abbreviation of Russian: Росси́йская Федера́ция, tr. Rossíyskaya Federátsiya) is the Cyrillic country code top-level domain for the Russian Federation, in the Domain Name System of the Internet. In the Domain Name System it has the ASCII DNS name
xn--p1ai. The domain accepts only Cyrillic subdomain applications, and is the first Cyrillic implementation of the Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA) system. The domain became operational on 13 May 2010. As of 2014 it is the most used internationalized country code top-level domain, with around 900,000 domain names.
The Cyrillic letters рф stand for Российская Федерация (transliterated as Rossijskaja Federacija / Rossiyskaya Federatsiya), the Russian Federation. The domain has an ASCII representation of
xn--p1ai derived as Punycode for use in the Domain Name System.
The domain is intended for Internet resources with names in the Russian language using Cyrillic.
A principle in the approval process of ICANN Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) states that Cyrillic two-character top-level domains should not exclusively use characters that could be confused with Latin characters of identical or similar shapes—not just those containing the seven letters а, е, о, р, с, у and х, but originally also proposed ccTLDs such as .бг (Bulgaria) due to its visual similarity to .br, although in 2016 the top-level domain .бг was launched. As such, GNSO sought to avoid the direct transcription of “ru” into Cyrillic, “ру”, and common abbreviations for Russia (Russian: Россия), such as “ро”, in order to avoid confusion with the Latin ccTLDs .py (Paraguay) and .po (currently[update] unassigned). In English sources .рф can be romanized as .rf, but the latter is not a valid domain for Russia. Later, other countries have won approval of two or three letter Cyrillic ccTLDs such as .укр, .срб, .мон, .қаз, .бел, .мкд and .бг.
The preparation, development, and technical testing of the domain started in 2007 by registrar RU Center. The domain delegation process started in November 2009 as an application to ICANN under the new Fast Track IDN ccTLD process. The domain is expected to be launched in 2010. In preparation for a launch, RU Center opened a sunrise registration period for Russian trademark owners from 25 November 2009 to 25 March 2010. General public registrations are planned starting 20 April 2010 through June 2010 using a Dutch auction process, and at a fixed price beginning in July 2010.
In January 2010 ICANN announced that the domain was one of the first four new non-Latin ccTLDs to have passed the Fast Track String Evaluation within the domain application process.
In a press release in December 2007, Alexei Lesnikov of RU-Center suggested that an auction for domain names could be highly successful, as was the case with a similar domain name auction on the .succTLD.
With comparisons being made with an equivalent Chinese TLD of .中国, it was anticipated that take-up of a Russian Cyrillic TLD could outstrip demand for the Latin alphabet equivalent, .ru. As of 2014 however, .ru has five times as many registrations as .рф.