While the fighting in Ukraine and its toll on human lives continue to capture global attention, another war is also raging: the war on objective, factual information in Russia and the countries that support it. Media outlets that go against the Kremlin’s talking points are being censored or shut down. Independent journalists are fleeing the country or risk being fined or arrested.
In the absence of neutral media in Russia, Wikipedia and the offline-reader Kiwix are filling the void. Views of the Russian Wikipedia are up significantly, while downloads of the encyclopedia through Kiwix have increased 50-fold.
More than 4000 Wikipedia editors in Russia are working to keep the online encyclopedia up to date. This work is often at great personal risk, as the Kremlin recently enacted a law threatening up to 15 years in prison for anyone spreading what it considers to be “fake news,” or information that doesn’t align with Moscow’s version of events.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Belarus, prominent Wikipedia editor Mark Bernstein was recently arrested for “distributing fake-anti Russian information.” In addition to going after individual contributors, the Kremlin has also threatened to fine Wikipedia for spreading misinformation and block the site completely in Russia.
One of Wikimedia CH’s missions is to advocate for free access to unbiased information and fight against misinformation worldwide. The offline reader Kiwix, which Wikimedia CH helped to set up and continues to support with funding and participation in its management, is an example of our mission in action.
These efforts are made possible by donations from our supporters and Wikipedia users. To help us fight against misinformation worldwide, please consider making a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below.