Russians want to make Wikipedia more 'truthful' and patriotic

Tanya Bekker
Vladimir Putin
Alexander Zemlianichenko | Pool | Reuters

The youth component of Russia's 'youth parliament' is trying to flood the site with thousands of articles to repair Russia's image 's parliament has come up with a new initiative to improve Russia's image online by submitting thousands of articles to Wikipedia that carry 'full and truthful information about the achievements and exploits of the Russian people." The Youth Parliament of the Russian Federation State Assembly announced the "Virtual Front" campaign because Wikipedia "carries destructive and falsified information about Russia."

The chairman of the Youth Parliament, State Duma deputy Natalia Kuvshinova said at a recent press conference in Moscow that "the campaign was not only meant to produce 10,000 articles," but to also raise Russians' awareness about "unreliable information on the internet and social networks."

The project would help clean 'dirt' from the media, said Deputy General Viktor Vodolatsky.

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The Youth Parliament was created to promote legislative regulation of the rights and interests of Russian youth in the State Duma, and has organized other patriotic campaigns in the past.

The coordinator of the initiative Kseniya Selezneva, told Vocativ that they want to highlight "Russian achievements" in history and write about "heroes of the Great Patriotic War' [Russians' term for World War II]. According to their Vkontakte page, they want to write not only about history but also about "modern Russian heroes." She said the project was being carried out by volunteers and their enthusiasm.

According to Wikipedia statistics, there are currently over 1.3 million in the Russian language compared to some 5.3 million in English.

This isn't the first Russian project aimed at improving Russia's online image. Last week, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Ministry would begin collecting "fake news of leading western media." Her comments were followed by remarks from Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who recently said Russia has created an "information warfare directorate" within the defense ministry to engage in "counterpropaganda."