Russia threatens to ban Wikipedia

Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin's media watchdog agency, has threatened to block Wikipedia in Russia, following a court ruling in Astrakhan in late June against an entry on the website about charas (a hashish form of cannabis). Roskomnadzor has sent a letter to Wikipedia's administrators, threatening to block the website in its entirety, if it refuses to delete the article in question.

This marks the first time a Russian court has banned content on Wikipedia. In the past, only two policing agencies (Russia's Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing, and the Federal Drug Control Service) have banned Wikipedia content.

“In the event that [Wikipedia] refuses to comply with the court's ruling, Roskomnadzor will block the webpage on Russian territory using the registry of illegal information. In this case, insofar as Wikipedia has decided to function on the basis of https, which doesn't allow restricting access to individual pages on its site, the entire website would be blocked,” Roskomnadzor stated.

RIA Novosti

Earlier in August, Roskomnadzor briefly banned the popular website Reddit. The offending content was a page titled, "Minimal and Reliable Methods for Growing Psilocybe [Mushrooms]." Because Reddit uses https protocol for secure communication, many Russian Internet providers (perhaps 30 percent, according to Roskomnadzor) would have blocked the website in its entirety. It is unclear why Roskomnadzor, in its threat against Wikipedia, implies that https would require the entire website to be blocked for more than 30 percent of Russian Internet users.