The Slatest

Russia Is Creating an “Alternative Wikipedia” That Looks a Lot Like an “Encyclopedia”

The anti-Wikipedia.

Photo by Sergey Supinski/AFP/Getty Images

Russia is not happy with the Internet. President Vladimir Putin—a one-man meme machine—has gone so far as to brand the web a “CIA special project.” The Russian government’s beef with the Internet is that people say mean things about Russia on the Internet. So, to help set the record straight, Russia is creating an “alternative Wikipedia,” the Russian Presidential Library announced on Friday.

The problem Russia has with Wikipedia—which has more than a million Russian entries—is that it doesn’t portray the country “objectively and accurately.” Welcome to the World Wide Web. “The analysis of this resource has shown that it does not have enough detailed and reliable information about Russian regions and the life of the country,” the Presidential Library said in a statement. The Russian government has already tried editing Wikipedia pages itself, but apparently has found keeping up with eager editors too cumbersome. So they’re just going to make their own self-styled version of Wikipedia, which sounds a lot like an encyclopedia. Here’s how the library describes the project:

Materials will be brought together to form a regional electronic encyclopedia, which is being created by the Presidential Library in cooperation with the National Library of Russia. These resources will be available on the website of the National Electronic Library … Integration of unique materials on the regions in a single electronic encyclopedia will allow to objectively and accurately present the country and its population, the diversity of the state, the national system of Russia. Posted materials will be constantly updated and renewed, being available to users from any Internet access point.

“The creation of an alternative Wikipedia has begun,” Russian state news agency RIA reports, according to Reuters. It’s not exactly user-generated, but the folks at the Presidential Library are pretty sure they’re on to something: “As expected, the regional electronic encyclopedia will be one of the most popular Russian Internet resources.”