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In Russia Wikipedia downloads boom, ban risk

The downloads of the offline version for smartphones of Wikipedia have increased enormously in Russia after the threats of a ban by the Kremlin. We are not talking about huge numbers compared to the population (we are just over 100 thousand downloads) but the increase is macroscopic: + 4000% compared to January 2022.

Rush to download Wikipedia in Russia

On March 1, 2022, Russia threatened to block Wikipedia, which had refused to change essential information on the conflict in Ukraine. As the number of Ukrainian civilian deaths and especially the losses of the Russian armywhich the Kremlin does not want to know each other at home.

For this reason, many users have decided to download the Wikipedia app, to keep on their smartphone. Slate reports the story of some young Russian users who have decided to download the app, to make sure they have access to its information. And they are not alone: ​​in the first half of March 105,889 downloaded the offline version. Small numbers compared to the Russian population, but increasing by + 4000% compared to the standards of January 2022.

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To get around Russian blocking and censorship, many users are using the services of Kiwix, which claims 42% of their traffic today comes from Russia. Users download i 29GB of the Cyrillic version of the online encyclopedia via a torrent. The equivalent of 667 volumes of a paper encyclopedia.

At the moment, the Russian censorship agency Roskomnadzor did not ban Wikipedia. But on 11 March he was arrested in Belarus Mark Bernstein, editor of Wikipedia. That with the new laws on “fake news” on the conflict (read “not aligned with the Kremlin”) risks up to 15 years in prison.

When Russia threatened the ban, Wikipedia refused to change the rumor about the conflict in Ukraine. “As always, even in this crisis Wikipedia is an important source of reliable and factual information. Recognizing therefore its important role, we will not take any step back in the face of attempts at censorship and intimidation of the members of your movement ”.

The Russian population seems to agree, with more and more people downloading the offline version of the encyclopedia.

Walker Ronnie is a tech writer who keeps you informed on the latest developments in the world of technology. With a keen interest in all things tech-related, Walker shares insights and updates on new gadgets, innovative advancements, and digital trends. Stay connected with Walker to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of technology.