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Russia may block Wikipedia due to article on VPNs that help reach blocked sites, says lawmaker

Source: Meduza

Wikipedia’s website may soon be blocked in Russia due to an article on the platform about VPN services that aid in circumventing restrictions and reaching blocked sites, said Russian lawmaker Anton Gorelkin, the deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies, and Communications.

On March 1, a ban on advertising or promoting circumvention tools, including VPNs, came into effect in Russia. The country’s federal censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, stated that it has begun “restricting access to information on the web that advertises or promotes means of bypassing restrictions to illegal content.” 

On his Telegram channel, Gorelkin wrote that Wikipedia’s article on VPNs violates these regulations. “There are legal grounds for blocking Wikipedia,” he said. “All that’s left to do is make sure this doesn’t cause significant inconvenience for users.”

Gorelkin reassured his followers that “all valuable information available on this resource has already been copied, brought into compliance with encyclopedic norms, and posted on the RuNet [Russia’s Internet domain].”

In mid-February, Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky proposed copying Wikipedia in its entirety for the Russian equivalent of the online encyclopedia, Znanie.

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