Anti-Russian propaganda on Wikipedia

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia
Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia // PierreSelim, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The use of Wikipedia as a platform for conducting anti-Russian propaganda is noted by experts, as well as representatives of the Russian government. The propaganda use of Wikipedia became especially active after the start of Russia's special military operation (SMO) in the Ukraine in 2022.[1][2]

In April 2022, Roskomnadzor said Wikipedia is a line of information attacks on Russians, and reported that anti-Russian materials on Wikipedia had become massive.[3]


On April 5, 2022, Roskomnadzor published a message: "Recently, materials that disseminate unreliable information on the special military operation in Ukraine and on the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have been massively posted on Wikipedia. Wikipedia has become a new line of constant information attacks on Russians. The authors of articles posted on Wikipedia deliberately misinform users of the Internet resource with frankly false information. In the articles published on the resource, an exclusively anti-Russian interpretation of events is promoted."[3]

On May 5, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about Wikipedia in a conversation with the General Director of the 'Knowledge' organization, Maxim Dreval, saying that "Wikipedia alone cannot be used. We ourselves know the "quality" of this information."[4]

The Committee of the State Duma of the Russian Federation on Information Policy recommended that educational organizations no longer use Wikipedia materials by students, since this resource is used to conduct an information war.[5] Anton Gorelkin, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications, believes that the term "Russian Wikipedia", which is often used both among Internet users and in the media, does not reflect reality. "In fact, we are talking exclusively about the Russian-language segment of the American website. This segment currently contains approximately 1.8 million articles. There is no self-regulation on this resource, and the entire editing process is under the control of the Wikimedia Foundation, the direct owners of Wikipedia", explains Gorelkin.[2] According to the deputy, the anti-Russian tilt in the activities of Wikipedia was outlined long before the start of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. "Back in September 2021, the so-called [Universal Code of Conduct] appeared, providing for the right to regulate the activities of members of the editorial community. With the beginning of the SMO, a split began in the [ruwiki] community, and the supporters of Ukraine and Western countries won", Gorelkin said.[2]


Doctor of Philology, Associate Professor of the Department of Mass Communications of the RUDN University M. Chekunova writes:[6]

In the conditions of modern information wars, "Wikipedia" cannot but be included to one degree or another in the global conflict. [...] If we consider the key line of the conflict is in the relationship between Russia and the West, then presumably one can find differences in approaches to the actors of this conflict in Wikipedia texts.

According to N. Zavyalova, Ph.D. in Law, in 2022 Wikipedia has become one of the newest online platforms for fake "stuffing". The researcher believes that Wikipedia is "rather rigidly and strictly censored", and the "reliability" of sources is assessed by a narrow circle of people who have certain views, ideas, values.[7]

Bogdan Bezpalko, political scientist, member of the Council on Interethnic Relations under the President of Russia believes that Wikipedia "lays the foundations of mythological consciousness, which is based not so much on facts as on their interpretation." Bezpalko emphasized that it is the humanitarian part of Wikipedia that is of particular importance, since it is it that "underlies the identification of the individual and society." "According to the famous historian Pyotr Tolochko, historical memory can kill. But it is formed precisely on the basis of historical articles of that same Wikipedia. Why be surprised that in the provinces, in Siberia or the Urals, people appear who support radical Ukrainian nationalism, although they have never been to Ukraine? The same thing happened to the Ukrainian society, which, in fact, through the local segment of Wikipedia, was 'invested' with a hostile identification, without which there would be no armed conflict," Bezpalko explains[2].

Pavel Frolov, head of the Runiversalis project, believes that the politicization of Wikipedia began at least in 2012, escalated after Crimea became part of Russia, and after February 24, 2022, "the anti-Russian position of the management of the internet encyclopedia became completely obvious." Frolov says that from that moment on, the official position of Russia began to be hushed up, and all links to official Russian resources were simply blocked, and summarizes that "this process is irreversible, since it is supported by the Wikimedia Foundation." Frolov admitted that it is sometimes difficult for him to understand the position of the Russian authorities, who treat outright lies on Wikipedia too leniently.[2]


  1.  Кунникова О. А., Рябова Т. В., Тищенко Н. Г. Лингвистика политического дискурса в условиях информационной войны // Гуманитарные основы инженерного образования: методическе аспекты в преподавании речеведческих дисциплин и проблемы речевого воспитания в вузе. Сборник материалов VIII Всероссийской научно-методической конференции. Ред. Т.В. Рябова, О.А. Кунникова. , 2022 / Ред. Т.В. Рябова, О.А. Кунникова.. — Санкт-Петербург, Петергоф: Ред. Т.В. Рябова, О.А. Кунникова., 2022. — С. 37-42.
  2. ↑ 2,0 2,1 2,2 2,3 2,4 Торин А. Википедия как оружие информационной войны // Международная жизнь. — 2023.
  3. ↑ 3,0 3,1 Роскомнадзор назвал «Википедию» линией информационных атак на россиян. РБК (5 апреля 2022).
  4.  Путин высказался о «Википедии». (5 мая 2022).
  5.  Малик Е. Н.,Шедий М. В. Информационная война против России как геополитическая деструкция государственности и политической системы // Современные традиции развития научного сообщества в эпоху глобальных перемен: монография. Выпуск 72 / под ред. А.А. Сукиасян. — Уфа: Аэтерна, 2023. — 130 с.
  6.  Чекунова М. А. Образ России в разноязычных разделах «Википедии»: феномен интернет-энциклопедии со свободным контентом в условиях глобального информационного конфликта // Вопросы журналистики, педагогики, языкознания. — 2022. — Т. 41, №1. — С.38-48. — ISSN 2712-7451.
  7.  Завьялова Н. Ю. Википедия как площадка для размещения фейков экстремистской направленности // Перспективы науки и общества в условиях инновационного развития: сборник статей Всероссийской научно-практической конференции с международным участием (28 ноября 2022 г., г. Самара). В 2 ч. Ч. 2. — Уфа: Аэтерна, 2022. — С. 78-81. — 208 с. — ISBN 978-5-00177-507-2.

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