Putin calls for Russian alternative to Wikipedia

The Russian government plans to allocate nearly 1.7 billion rubles ($26.7 million) towards a Russian online reference resource similar to Wikipedia in the next three years, according to government documents published in September 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for the creation of a more "reliable" national version of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.

The president told a Kremlin meeting of a committee on the future of the Russian language: "As for Wikipedia... it's better to replace it with the new Big Russian Encyclopaedia in electronic form," RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"At least that will be reliable information, presented in a good, modern way."

Putin was referring to a Russian encyclopaedia that came out between 2007 and 2014 and is currently only available in paper form.

The government plans to allocate nearly 1.7 billion rubles ($26.7 million) towards a Russian online reference resource similar to Wikipedia in the next three years, according to government documents published in September.

Putin was responding to a comment by a university rector who complained about the use of Wikipedia by courts to reach verdicts.

The widely used Russian-language Wikipedia, known as Vikipedia, says it has more than 1.5 million articles.

In 2015, Russia briefly banned Wikipedia over an entry on a form of cannabis.

Putin made the call after a controversial law entered force last week on the creation of an internet network that can be isolated from international servers and filtered to prevent users accessing banned sites.