The Russian government wants to ensure that its people have “detailed and reliable” information about their country. Therefore, the presidential library said on Friday that they were going to make a Russian alternative to Wikipedia.
Newsweek notes that the move is the result of an analysis by Russia’s National Library that deemed the U.S. website’s content on Russia unreliable.
“An analysis of [Wikipedia] showed it was incapable of providing Russian regions with reliable and comprehensive information about the life of the nation.”
Unlike the U.S. Wikipedia, the Russian government feels their website will “objectively reflect the country, its population and the diversity of the Russian nation,” according to the statement. This is not the first time Russia has taken issue to western online resources. In fact, in April of this year, president Vladimir Putin made bold statments in regards to the internet as a whole. He expressed his suspicion that the internet is a project “developed and managed to this day” by the CIA. In other words, Putin thinks the internet as a whole is one big U.S. spy mission.
In reponse to the suspician of U.S. government spying, Russia noted that they were going to create their own internet alternative. The full details of the “internet alternative” were not released. However, last May the Kremlin did launch its own search engine called “Sputnik.” Sputnik was created to overtake the “western search engine” Google, but it appears Sputnik is somewhat of a laughing stock according to Kevin Rothrock, RuNet Echo project editor at Global Voices.
“I think a Kremlin-orchestrated Wikipedia alternative is doomed to be both a failure and a laughing stock, which is how I would describe ‘Sputnik’.”
Reuters reports that internet censorship is becoming increasingly easy for the Kremlin. In fact, since August, bloggers in Russia with more than 3,000 followers must register with the Moscow’s mass media regulatory agency and conform to rules applied to larger media outlets. Also since February, state authorities have been able to block websites without a court order. The webpages of two leading Kremlin critics were among the first to be barred.
Internet censorship is not the only thing that the Russian government is doing that is turning heads. At the G20 summit, Russia attempted to flex their military muscles by sending warships near the Australian coast. However, it didn’t change anything for the president. At the summit, Putin was forced to make a quick exit after he felt snubbed.
Is the Russian “Wikipedia alternative” just another step towards censoring anti-Kremlin speech in Russia?
[Image courtesy of spyhollywood.com]