It’s well known that Wikipedia is not the most reliable source for accurate information. There are not many active editors, the diversity among editors is minimal, and anybody can vandalize entries by editing information. Plus, Wikipedia itself says, “We do not expect you to trust us.”

 

Russian president Vladimir Putin calls the Internet a “CIA special project” and has begun to develop Russia’s own alternate Wikipedia. The Kremlin claims that the aim of this alternative is to provide its citizens with more “detailed and reliable information about Russian regions and the life of the country.”

 

Putin views the Internet as a threat from Western powers. (vosizneias.com)

Putin views the Internet as a threat from Western powers. (vosizneias.com)

Putin views Western presence in the Internet as a threat; the recent crisis in Ukraine has led political relations with Russia to plummet. Though work on Russia’s own Wikipedia is already underway, its still unclear whether or not completion will effect Russian citizens’ access to the preexisting Wikipedia website.

 

Russia’s Wikipedia project represents another step toward their recent anti-Western policies, especially involving the Internet. Earlier this year, a bill was passed to restrict the presence and power of Internet companies from other nations. An author of the bill and deputy from the United Russia party, Yevgeny Fyodorov, claims that such restrictions are necessary because to “protect the country, we have to take these objects under national control,” referring to the storage of Russian user information in foreign Internet companies’ databases.

 

Additionally, Russia requires bloggers with a high following (3,000 readers or more) to officially register themselves with Moscow, entailing particular rules and regulations. The Kremlin, since February, has been able to block any website without court orders. Unsurprisingly, several anti-Kremlin critics’ websites were blocked immediately.

 

So far, about 50,000 books and documents from 27 Russian libraries have been involved in the process of creating Russia’s own alternate Wikipedia.

 

What do you think are the implications of an alternate Wikipedia for Russia? Respond below or on Twitter @ryanlawlessness