Faced with the threat of a blockade, Russian users endorse Wikipedia en masse

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

The next target is in sight: it is Wikipedia . The free and collaborative encyclopedia could soon no longer be available on Russian territory. Roskomnadzor the censorship body of Vladimir Putin’s government, issued a statement declaring that the site https://ru.m.wikipedia.org “contains false reports about acts of terrorism or other unreliable information of public importance, distributed under the guise of trustworthy messages…” . The statement refers to a specific web page entitled “Russian invasion of Ukraine (2022)” and in which information about the start of the conflict is given. The Roskomnadzor bulletin issued on March 1 orders the restriction of Wikipedia and the removal of the article.

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Despite the statement and as far as we know, Wikipedia continues to work in Russia, but it could very soon stop doing so. According to the news outlet Slate, in the face of the threat, several citizens are backing up the full version of the encyclopedia in Russian on hard drives and computers (the full file weighs 29 gigabytes and Wikipedia’s statutes allow any user to download and back up the content published on the platform). The backups are made through an application called Kiwix and its statistics show an increase in activity generated from Russia during the month of March. According to the article written by Annie Rauwerda, the file has been downloaded 148,457 times so far in March.

Wikipedia could join the media and social networks that have already been banned by the Russian government; Yesterday a court banned both the use of Facebook and Instagram on the grounds that both platforms encourage extremist activities.

Wikipedia has more than 56 million articles written by volunteers from all over the world in 321 different languages. It is a collaborative platform that was created by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger on January 15, 2001. According to June 2020 figures, the Russian version of the encyclopedia was the sixth most visited; it currently contains over 1.8 million items.


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