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Lunch Talk | National Platforms in a World of Global Platform Giants: The Case of Russian Domestic Competitors

The Lunch Talk will take place on 8 June 2023 at 12:00pm CET. The speaker, Alina Kontareva, will provide thematic insights into Russian platforms against global competitors. Stephan Bohn will moderate the event. This is an online event, which will be held in English. Our aim is to come together and exchange ideas in an inspiring digital lunch break.


L U N C H  T A L K

National Platforms in a World of Global Platform Giants: The Case of Russian Domestic Competitors

Alina Kontareva

Thursday, 8 June 2023 | 12 pm – 1 pm (CET)
Online (via Zoom)


US online platform giants—Amazon, Facebook, Google, and others — dominate the global platform economy, gradually displacing their local competitors. In contrast to Western Europe and Japan, Russia has developed a domestic population of platforms that are present in market segments that are important for social and economic interactions — search (Yandex), social media (VKontakte and Odnoklassniki), and e-commerce (Ozon). 

In this Lunch Talk, Alina will present a recently published paper in which together with Martin Kenney they examine the historical roots of Russian platforms’ development to understand why and under what conditions Russia has developed national platform leaders despite facing powerful foreign entrants. Their research shows that initially, Russian platforms occupied leadership positions due to their local embeddedness, and locally-emerging network effects. The openness of the Russian market to global competitors was an important factor that kept high innovation rates of domestic firms. After 2008, the Russian government’s position regarding the internet changed, and it began to selectively protect domestic leaders. However, state intervention did not have a significant effect on the competitive dynamics between domestic and foreign firms because Russian platforms in social media and e-commerce had created a significant form of user lock-in. State intervention was a necessary measure for supporting a national firm in online search, Yandex, which was unable to prevent the migration of its users to Google.

The study shows ​​the limitations of local network effects from an evolutionary perspective and demonstrates how the openness of national economies to the global platform giants does not have to be absolute and that domestic platforms can be preserved. This case is particularly important today as more national governments consider whether having domestic platform companies is in their national interest.


Alina Kontareva, is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG). She examines the evolution of platform corporate governance and platform organizational form at the INCA project (E.U. Horizon 2020). Her research interests are digital platforms, strategy, internet policy, digital technology, platform geography, and innovation. Alina is a Ph.D. Candidate at TIK – Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Culture at the University of Oslo. Alina’s doctoral dissertation was an extensive study of Russia’s digital market, in which she examined how digital platforms emerge and mature outside major economies.


Stephan Bohn, is a senior researcher and a project leader in the Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Society group. At HIIG, he is responsible for projects about digital organizing, sustainability, open source and platforms. Stephan’s research areas focus on organizational change, institutional change, framing and (disruptive) technologies in different areas, especially digitalisation and open-source, digital music market and platforms, and green innovations such as renewables, and electric mobility. In doing so, he likes to combine qualitative methods and machine learning approaches such as topic modelling.


Lunch Talk Series

In our Lunch Talk Series, we explore cutting edge research at the intersection of digitalization and society that is also highly relevant for practice and policy. Topics include grand challenges, sustainability, responsible platforms, AI and the knowledge society. Our aim is to bring researchers and practitioners with a mutual interest on these topics together, exchange ideas, and make research more visible, applicable and impactful.


To participate in the event, please register using the form below. You will receive the login details on the day of the event.


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Event date

08.06.2023 | 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm ical | gcal


Online,  HIIG,   Berlin



This high-profile lecture series thrives to develop a European perspective on the processes of transformation that our societies are currently undergoing.


Once a month we publicly discuss the impact of digitalisation on the society. Therefore we invite special guests and engage in a dialogue with the audience.


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