In March, President Vladimir Putin blocked access to four websites that published oppositional press and critiques of his ruling. Freedom of the press has long been since been cited as precarious. In March, Anna Veduta, was quoted by the BBC saying the block was a “political decision taken as part of the cleansing of the media space”.
In April, a law forcing restrictions on social media was passed.
In July, the Kremlin announced requirements for internet service providers to monitor and store all citizens’ personal data.
On Friday, the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library announced it’s intention to develop regional electronic encyclopedia. It is being offered as an alternative to Wikipedia on grounds that “the analysis of [Wikipedia] has shown that it does not have enough detailed and reliable information about Russian regions and the life of the country”. Additionally, this new encyclopedia “will allow to objectively and accurately present the country and its population, the diversity of the state, the national system of Russia”.
The Director General of the Presidential Library Alexander Vershinin has said that the new site will include documents on Russian territory and other documents that discuss development will be created to support this. Apparently the new encyclopedia will be somewhat open source, insofar that it “subjects of the Russian Federation will also be involved in the work. They will be offered to provide to the new resource their regional encyclopedias. According to experts, not less than 500 ones have been issued”. This is eerily similar to North Korea's version of intranet.
Wikipedia is currently the world’s sixth most popular website, and has more than one million entries in Russian alone. Somehow though, the Presidential Library manages to predict even before it’s completion, “As expected, the regional electronic encyclopedia will be one of the most popular Russian Internet resources”.
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