There is a page on Wikipedia containing the list of things banned in Russia. Ironically, the online encyclopedia may soon find its own name in that list. Russia has threatened to ban Wikipedia unless it takes down a page containing a recipe for charas, a form of hashish. According to Meduza, Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor has sent a letter to Wikipedia administrators, asking them to take down the entry or face ban.
Russian court rules the removal of charas content
The media regulator said the Wikipedia website could be banned in its entirety. Roskomnadzor’s move comes after a court in the city of Astrakhan ruled that the page about charas should be banned. It would be the first time a court in Russia has banned Wikipedia content. Roskomnadzor explained that if the online encyclopedia refused to comply with the court’s ruling, it will have to block the website on Russian territory “using the registry of illegal information.”
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So, why would the Internet watchdog block the entire website rather than just a page? Because of Wikipedia’s security protocols. Since the ‘https’ doesn’t allow restriction of individual pages, the entire website would be blocked. Roskomnadzor has also published the warning on the Russian-language social media site VKontakte.
Russia developing its own Wikipedia
Internet censorship has increased significantly in Russia in the past few years. Earlier this month, Moscow had briefly blocked Reddit over a thread related to cannabis. In April, all Internet memes mocking politicians and celebrities were banned. Last year, the Kremlin adopted a law, which specifies that websites and blogs receiving more than 3,000 daily visitors must register themselves with Roskomnadzor.
Last year, Moscow started developing its own Wikipedia-like online encyclopedia to rival the “unreliable” American website. The Kremlin expects it to become one of the most popular Russian online resources. The Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, which Vladimir Putin established in 2007, is tasked with developing the Russian encyclopedia.