Russia has risen nine places this year in a global ranking of countries' exploitation of information and communication technologies, but remains hobbled by frail institutions, a report by the World Economic Forum showed.
Russia now stands in 43rd place out of the 143 economies surveyed in the forum's Networked Readiness Index (NRI), making it far and away the leader among the BRICS group of emerging economies, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
China remained in 62nd place this year, while Brazil, India and South Africa all lost ground further down in the rating.
The skill set of Russian workers continued to improve, rising to 52nd place in the rating. Another strong suit was prices: Russia ranked 15th for the affordability of information and communications technologies (ICTs) within the country, this year's Global Information Technology Report said.
The term "information and communications technology" encompasses telecommunications, computers, computer software and other hardware and systems for storing, sharing and manipulating information.
Usage of ICTs also grew notably in Russia, particularly among businesses, the report found.
However, Russia's harnessing of information technologies is still undermined by "the lack of independence and inefficiency of [Russia's] judicial system and … the poor protection of intellectual property, among other issues," the report said.
More broadly, the study showed that the divide between rich and poor economies' use of ICTs continues to widen. The countries in the top 10 percent of the rating — all highly developed economies — have since 2012 improved their ratings twice as fast as the countries in the bottom 10 percent.
Singapore took first place this year for maximum use of ICTs to strengthen its economy and society, jumping ahead of Finland, which led the pack in 2013 and 2014.