Putin Backs Pravdapedia
The people of Russia must surely rejoice at the recent news that the era of unreliable Wikipedia is finally coming to an end. In a meeting at the Kremlin last week, President Putin made known his support for replacing the online encyclopaedia with a ‘Big Russian’ alternative.
The moves comes just one week after the acutely totalitarian sounding ‘Law on Sovereign Internet’ came into effect, meaning that Russian internet-users (meddlers and non-meddlers alike) can have their access to the global web severed by the state authorities.
The new Russian encyclopaedia – Pravdapedia, as it might be appropriately termed – will be developed over the next three years using a 21bn rouble (£20.7m) investment from the government.
Mr Putin stated that it will offer Russians ‘reliable information, presented in a good, modern way’ – which is a relief, as there’s nothing worse than censorship presented in a bad, un-modern way.
Yet in all seriousness, Putin may have valid concerns regarding reliability of the website; there’s no effective method for fact-checking; it’s not authoritative on detail; sources can be varied in quality.
Currently, Wikipedia lists Crimea’s status as being ‘internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.’ Previous claims include that Tony Blair worshipped Hitler and that David Beckham was a Chinese goalkeeper in the 18th century.
However, the real (changed this to real just to make it more accessible to non-native speakers) reason that Wikipedia is being ousted in Russia is due to its objectionable use by courts in reaching their verdicts on legal cases. Of course, why change the law to prevent this when you can just remove and replace Wikipedia altogether?
As yet just what the new site will exactly look like remains a mystery and in the intervening period Russians should still have access to the real thing, unless another controversial article on an obscure type marijuana comes to light, which in 2015 justified an all-out ban for several hours.
If all goes to plan, look forward to learning that Putin created the internet when he was eight and that Russians invaded Berlin riding bears bareback.