We have all seen the photos, the videos, the testimonies, the horror. But the view from the Russian side is very different. And Wikipedia has been caught in the middle.
As children we were taught that truth and lies are very simple things. The truth is something unquestionable, because it can be demonstrated. Until you run into politics, one of the great unavoidable evils of humanity. Then the truth depends on the side, the ideology, or the army you support.
The invasion of Ukraine is what it is, something unquestionable: one country has invaded another by force of arms. But politics makes some call it “conflict.” Or even, as the Russians claim, “special operation.”
The massive destruction of cities, the indiscriminate killing of civilians, the millions of refugees driven from their homes, are documented by the UN and by independent NGOs. But still the invading side denies it, calling it “propaganda”, or “unreliable information”.
Politics is a nightmare for a platform that tries to be neutral and stick to the facts, as it is Wikipedia. A nightmare that is multiplied by a thousand when anyone can edit that information.
Like is logic, Wikipedia has sections devoted to the Ukrainian War. In European countries it tries to base itself on the facts, and that is why in the Spanish version of Wikipedia you can find sections such as “The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022”, which the Russian authorities do not like at all.
As Business Insider reports, Russia has threatened Wikipedia with a fine of 43,000 euros for posting information”inaccurate” and “anti-russia” on “the special operation in Ukraine“.
How can the proven facts be judged “inaccurate”? It is something that only politicians can do. And they are very good at it.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecommunications regulator, sent a petition to Wikipedia administrators on Monday to limit what they consider to be “dissemination of unreliable socially important information“, as the government body collects in a statement.
Wikipedia has become a source of information”with continuous attacks on the Russians“, with entries that “deliberately misinform” to netizens and provide “an anti-Russian interpretation of events“, as Roskomnadzor has denounced.
Unlike many countries and companies, with significant economic interests and energy dependency on Russia, Wikipedia is a non-profit organizationso it is immune to threats, because it has no economic or energy interests.
But it is not so much to the fines, because its economic resources are low. Wikipedia is not going to change the content of its information because they are the facts, and they cannot be denied. Faced with a possible fine, you can pay it, but it is something that you are unlikely to do. Because the fine does not exclude forcing you to change the information.
The only solution left for Russia is close Wikipedia in your country, as it has already done with Instagram and Facebook, which he describes as “extremist organization“However, it has not closed WhatsApp, because the only alternative is… Telegram, the Russian application whose founder is one of Putin’s enemies.
The enemies, the truth, everything is relative in the world of politics, and wars. That is why they are so dangerous and worrying.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism