Russia may get ‘autonomous Wikipedia’ in four years

A Russian online encyclopedia which is now being developed by the joint-stock company Great Russian Encyclopedia may cost the state budget more than 2 bn rubles ($30 mln).

As reported earlier, the Russian government intends to replace Wikipedia by its own ‘national-level scientific, educational encyclopaedic portal’. The corresponding instruction by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was published on August, 2016 on the official website of legal information in Russia.

The would-be encyclopedia will be vast different from its international ‘counterpart’. An ordinary user will not be uathorized to edit its articles; it will be up to a ‘group of experts’.

The Russian authorities do not recognize Wikipedia as a reliable source of knowledge. For example, Deputy Communication Minister Alexei Volin called it a ‘collection of some way untrustworthy information’ and called on students to avoid using it.

A few years ago, the Kremlin that became concerned about Russian citizens’ searching information on foreign websites decided to have a domestic alternative to Google created. The state-run communications company Rostelekom launched Sputnik, its own search engine worth $20 mn, which was expected to replace the US service. However, webizens were slow to use it, and three years after the triumphant launch, Sputnik was announced to be liquidated or ‘repurposed’.

In late September, Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor), started installing the equipment which will isolate Runet, the Russian segment of the Internet, from the rest of the world if the country’s authorities see a threat to its ‘stability’.

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