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Russia creating rival to Wikipedia to protect knowledge from ‘erosion’ & fake news

Russia creating rival to Wikipedia to protect knowledge from ‘erosion’ & fake news
The Russian equivalent of Wikipedia will become a reliable source for “safe,” verified, data without any ideological or political agenda, and could be accessed by 15 million people a day, its creators said.

The ambitious undertaking, which is powered by the Great Russian Encyclopedia (GRE) publishing house, is going to receive 2 billion rubles ($31 million) in state funding between 2020 and 2022.

The nationwide interactive encyclopedic portal is aimed at protecting contemporary knowledge from “erosion” and sheltering online users from misleading information, GRE communications chief, Anna Sinitsyna, said.

With the avalanche-like growth of all kinds of falsifications (including those in scientific, historical, statistical and demographic data) and fake news, generated by some media and private users online, we see it as a particularly urgent task to create a database of safe information (verified by the scientific community).

All the entries on the portal will be of purely scientific and educational nature, “free of any political or ideological agenda.”

The authors of the project plan to attract an audience of at least 10 million people, which would include students, researchers, civil servants, media people and all those interested in reliable data.

But the site should be capable of handling 15 million unique users on a daily basis. For reference, the stats by Mediascope reveal that the Russian version of Wikipedia was accessed by some 2.9 million people per day this July.

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At launch, the 80,000 articles from the Great Russian Encyclopedia, which was published by GRE between 2004 and 2017, will make the bulk of the portal’s content. But it will then be regularly expanded with information from other sources.

Registered users would have a chance to submit articles, but they would only be included on the website after approval by the “expert community” of GRE staff and scientists from other organizations.

With it being a national portal, the articles will be presented in the Russian language, but “the translation of the whole database into some other languages is possible on the initiative of foreign partners.”

BRICS nations (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) as well Iran and Cuba could be interested in the project due to the “English-language encyclopedia Britannica not satisfying them due to its obvious Anglocentrism, especially when it comes to history and culture.”

A tender to provide branding and marketing strategy for the Russian encyclopedic portal has just been announced.

Earlier this year, Russia started working to ensure that ‘Runet’ – the country’s segment of the internet – will remain operational despite a global malfunction or a deliberate internet disconnection by the West. There are plans to create a national DNS system to store all of the domain names and corresponding IP numbers.

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