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The Likud Russian-language Web site went online Thursday after several months in preparation. The party is trying to increase its interaction with Russian-speaking voters, a key constituency in the upcoming February elections.

Among other things, the site is meant to convey messages to field activists, inspired by the site operated by U.S. president-elect Barack Obama.

Studies conducted ahead of the site's launch show that the average Russian-speaking Internet user is 15 years older than his Hebrew-speaking counterpart. The number of Russian-speaking surfers and their wide age range will let party chairman Benjamin Netanyahu reach many people in his campaign, Likud says.

Likud is competing for Russian speakers' votes with Yisrael Beiteinu. While the latter party is trying to win right-wing votes from outside the Russian-speaking community, Netanyahu wants to get back the support of Russian-speakers who helped make him prime minister in 1996.

Operated by a group of Russian-speaking intellectuals, the site is slated to convey the same messages as Likud's Hebrew site conveys to the native population.