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Russian Interior Ministry tries (and fails) to purge Wikipedia information about Minister Kolokoltsev illegally attending a political party congress

Source: Meduza

Russia’s Interior Ministry (MVD) has tried but failed to purge from Wikipedia reports that Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev possibly broke the law over the weekend by attending United Russia’s annual congress.

Based on the edit history for Kolokoltsev’s Russian-language Wikipedia page, users first added information about the interior minister’s political party activity on December 9 at 2:17 p.m., Moscow time. The next day at 6:09 a.m., according to the Twitter bot @RuGovEdits (which monitors anonymous edits on Wikipedia from IP addresses owned by the Russian government), someone using an MVD IP address deleted this entire section from Kolokoltsev’s page. Three minutes later, the same anonymous user added a discussion note arguing that Kolokoltsev’s attendance doesn't violate any laws. One minute later, a Wikipedia bot undid the deletion automatically, citing nonconstructive edits. The Interior Ministry Internet user then tried the whole thing a second time, leading to identical results.

At the time of this writing, Kolokoltsev’s Wikipedia page still has a special section devoted to his attendance of United Russia’s annual congress. The text notes that human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov believes Kolokoltsev’s presence at the event violates articles 25 and 26 of Russia’s federal police law (which prohibits police personnel from participating in the actions of political parties). The Wikipedia text also summarizes statements from the MVD’s spokesperson and United Russia’s party leadership, who argue that Kolokoltsev was only a guest and not a participant, and therefore broke no laws.