Putin proposed replacing Wikipedia in Russia with a 'Big Russian Encyclopaedia' days after passing a law to let him cut off the entire country from the web

ReutersRussia’s President Vladimir Putin speaks at the senior officers promotion ceremony in Moscow’s Kremlin, Russia, November 6, 2019.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to replace Wikipedia with a “Big Russian” version of the online encyclopaedia which he said will house “reliable information,” according to Deutsche Welle (DW).
  • The proposal was made at the Russian Language Council meeting in the Kremlin on Tuesday.
  • A project set in motion to create the Russian version of Wikipedia has been allocated a budget of $US27 million and will be completed from 2020-2022, according to Newsweek.
  • Putin’s announcement comes just a week after a new “sovereign internet” law came into force in Russia last Friday which allows the Russian government to disconnect internet from the world wide web.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to replace Wikipedia with a “Big Russian” version of the online crowd-sourced encyclopaedia during a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday.

Putin was speaking at a Russian Language Council meeting at the Kremlin when he made the proposal to replace Wikipedia, according to Deutsche Welle.

“It’s better to replace it [Wikipedia] with the Big Russian new encyclopaedia in electronic form … here it will be in any case, reliable information in a good modern form,” said Putin, according a translation from DW, which cited Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with officials in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. The meeting focused on language issues. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)Associated PressRussian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with officials in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. The meeting focused on language issues. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

In September the Kremlin announced that it has allocated a budget of 1.7 billion rubles ($US27 million) for the creation of a Russian version of Wikipedia, according to Newsweek.

The project is set to begin next year, and will last two years from 2020-2022, Newsweek said.

The proposal was made just a week after a new “sovereign internet” law came into force in Russia. The law allows the Russian government to disconnect internet from the world wide web.

Kremlin officials argue that the new system will help protect Russia’s internet in the face of cyberattacks.The law has faced criticism, however, as Russian internet providers will be required to install hardware which will allow authorities to locate and block traffic, and could enable Putin to censor and close the internet.

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