The Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRL), a project of the Atlantic Council, is reporting that Russian attempts to launch a Russian analog of Wikipedia are not going well. According to the DFLR report:
Runiversalis (руни.рф), a newly launched Russian analog of the internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, is an attempt to spread Russian propaganda and disinformation in the guise of a wiki. Beyond using the underlying software architecture employed by Wikipedia, it’s a wiki in name only. Since Russia’s February 2022 re-invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has doubled downed on censorship and its assault on free speech in an attempt to prevent factual information about the war from spreading to domestic audiences. The Kremlin has banned and blocked Western websites and social media platforms, and passed a law that imprisons a person for sharing “fake” content about Russian troops, among other measures. Despite these efforts, some Western platforms like YouTube remain available in Russia, while Russian citizens routinely employ virtual private networks (VPNs) to bypass official restrictions and access content in the West. Wikipedia is among the online platforms that Russia has threatened to silence. In the spring of 2022, Russian censor Roskomnadzor fined Wikipedia RUB 4,000,000 (around USD $66,000) for not deleting articles about Russia’s war in Ukraine, which Kremlin propaganda refers to as a “special military operation.” On July 20, Roskomnadzor obliged Russian search engines to “inform” users that Wikipedia violates Russian legislation. Amid Russia’s attempts to silence Wikipedia within the country, a new Telegram channel named Runiversalis (Руниверсалис) announced the launch of the project. The August 18 announcement included the motto, “Runiversalis — the encyclopedia of common sense.” The authors of the announcement claimed to be “former editors and administrators of Wikipedia.”
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In April 2022, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported on a study about Russian disinformation outlets cited on Wikipedia.