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Russia bans Wikipedia

Source: Roskomnadzor

Updated: As Russian Internet providers start blocking Wikipedia, the banned entry is taken off blacklist

Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin's media watchdog agency, has ordered Russian Internet providers to block a page on Wikipedia about charas (a hashish form of cannabis). Over the weekend, the website' users changed the name and the URL of the article, hoping to satisfy the technical requirements of a court order issued in Astrakhan in late June. Roskomnadzor officials said today that these steps are insufficient. The agency also says experts from the federal anti-drug police have confirmed that the content contained in the Wikipedia article is illegal.

Last week, Roskomnadzor threatened that banning one article on Wikipedia would result in the complete blocking of the website, insofar as it uses https protocol. “In the event that [Wikipedia] refuses to comply with the court’s ruling," the agency said in an announcement, "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.” 

The administrators of the Russian segment of the online encyclopedia decided to move the article to another URL, but this does not restrict users' access to information deemed illegal by a [Russian] court.


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.

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